Nick Clegg must resign

Before we are taken into Hallam in a handcart, the Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg must resign.

There are many reasons to be cheerful as a LibDem supporter:

*Sure Start protected, social care fund of £2million, income allowance up by over a grand next year with a promise to reach the manifesto pledge of £10,000 by the time of the first ever fixed-term parliament, referendum on voting reform, museum charges still free, end of ID cards, end of the DNA database, scrapping of Section 44, increase in Child Tax Credits and available to more families by 2012…..

…..and then…..

Then there’s the shadow. The dark, thick, acrid smoke covering all the good news, turning it inside out like the toxic fog that does for the chrous-line Simpsons. The scare-story in today’s Guardian today – I assume the headline “LIBDEMS REALISED THERE WOULD BE A HUNG PARLIAMENT AND ACTED ACCORDINGLY” was considered too pedantic – nevertheless taps into the problems right at the heart of our Party and its role within the Coalition.

Clegg has delivered exactly what all activists and Councillors and voters wanted; LibDems in Government, giving the Conservatives a liberal accent on civil liberties and tax. But it’s the shadow, the darkness, the storm…

A few days ago, whilst returning on train from Manchester, I struck up conversations with students coming home from the NUS march in central London. All 5 of them – two each from Manchester and Salford, two from UCLan – agreed with despondency and regret that the march had largely been a disaster. As one said; “It was a great march, until we came out from a 20 minute break in Costa to find all Hell had broken loose.” Another said “We picked up stragglers who just wanted to start a fight, we won’t be on the middle pages never mind the front page.”

But any ire focused at the SWP and pick-n-mix anarchists ruining the march was nothing compared to what they had in store towards Nick Clegg. Not Liberal Democrats generally, I noticed (talking with them as a ‘supporter’, assuming telling them how I was a committed activist and former Councillor would colour the debate somewhat). Specifically Nick Clegg. One told me;

Clegg came to every Uni, day after day, telling us ‘Vote for me and I will help abolish tuition fees. My vote was to him on that one promise, and now that promise is broken. I feel betrayed.

Another said;

All I can see now is Nick Clegg lying about tuition fees and a left wing Labour leader wanting them scrapped. That’s it for me, and all our branch (of the NUS) feel the same. Labour will get thousands more student votes now and it’s all because Labour are taking the right words on scrapping fees, that’s just what we want

A few days later, a mate of mine talking on this issue said;

Clegg just comes across like Phil Woolas, lying to get elected. What’s the difference? He should be done for fraud

Each and every attack on Clegg – their voice hoarse, their hearts deflated, their LibDem support utterly compromised – rang in my ears like church bells. Although I don’t believe “Clegg = Woolas” (whilst Phil knew his election material to be untrue, Clegg had no notion of the election result until it happened), the substantive point still stands. The one policy which was our magnet for support has become repellent, abhorrent.

Partly due to bad PR, implementation of the Browne Report has tainted our Party as dream-stealers. The proposals for tuition fees deal with the unholy mess handed to us by Labour. Increasing the pay-back salary to £21k and rightly dismissing the grossly unfair Graduation Tax is amongst the better of very limited options. It’s not right, it’s not pretty, but here is where we find ourselves…

…I just have to blame Clegg for getting us here. During our Leadership Election – “Calamity Clegg”, remember that? – I voted for Chris Huhne as my first preference and spoke against Nick at every opportunity. At the time, he did not convince me. I didn’t like him at the time and I don’t trust him now. His leadership has become toxic. “Word Association” with Liberal Democrat buzzwords comes up negatively everytime. We’re achieving too much good whilst in Government to have the tuition fees mess drag us out of office.

I support all those LibDems – such as my Presidential preference Tim Farron – who won’t just abstain but vote against the fee proposals. This is the kind of progressive and independent matter of conscious actions I would expect from anyone on the LibDem backbenches. Such matters of principle clearly shut down when Clegg’s ministerial car opened.

For the good of the Party – maybe even for our survival as a Party in the longterm – Nick Clegg must stand down. I had no idea of the strength of opposition to him, the manner in which his personal standing is dragging the whole party in the mud. To get anywhere near the standing before the election, his actions now have to ensure elections later are not ballot-box killing fields.

I want the Party to remain in the Coalition, doing all it can for the people of Britain in the aftermath of Labour’s disastrous economic illiteracy. To do anything in this regard, the one man whose role is causing dense fog to cloud all other considerations of our Party must to the honourable and right thing.

Nick Clegg must resign as Leader as soon as possible.

8 thoughts on “Nick Clegg must resign

  1. "Phil knew his election material to be untrue, Clegg had no notion of the election result until it happened"Not true I'm afraid. Nick Clegg continued to campaign against short term cuts and for cuts over the parliament roughly in line with those proposed by Labour. He has since admitted that he had already changed hi mind.Also your reasons to be cheerful aren't quite correct. Sure Start has a real terms cut, the Social Fund will barely replace other money being taken in cuts from the same areas. And the jusy wait until the £10K tax rate is "put off". Add in VAT and punitive welfare changes and I am left with nothing but the feeling I wasted my vote.

  2. As for the AV vote. Who would really want the dihonesty and lies of the Lib Dem leaders to be repeated every election by increasing their number of seats..You're right change leader and change direction. Then there's a chance of avoiding a collapse in support.

  3. It's been shown he had already decided to ditch the policy well before the election, and had be been honest and informed the students of this he would have lost their votes. Instead he continued to campaign with the promise to not just prevent any rises, but to scrap fees entirely. He's a liar, a fraud and a charlatan who I wouldn;t trust to walk the dog, let alone have any role in running the country.I was taken in by his talk of a 'new politics' and voted accordingly, and now I feel utterly, utterly betrayed. There's no new politics, they're all as rotten and corrupt as each other.

  4. I can't understand the logic of your position: "Clegg should resign, but we should stay in the coalition".If you stay in the coalition, then you will be required to do lots more dirty work on behalf of your Tory masters, that will make the fees issue look like small beer.Staying in the coalition is electoral suicide for the LibDems, the only way they can regain any public support at all would be to leave the coalition, otherwise, by the time of the next general election, they will be wiped off the electoral map altogether, with or without Clegg.

  5. Nonsense! Clegg is holding the coalition together, and a few whiny students who don't understand which side their bread is buttered can't be allowed to shake the party to that extent. If they really think that Labour are "taking the right words on scrapping fees" then that just means they 1) have no idea of the history of tuition fees and who introduced the bloody things and 2) are too thick to be in higher education anyways. Making a pledge to do something if you win an election and then not doing it when you don't is NOT BETRAYAL. Jeez.

  6. The trouble with the coalition, or CON-DEM-nation as I like to call it, is that I feel the Lib Dem majority are indeed being overshadowed by the Tory manifest and their Leader bowing to the Tory will as he feels this would be the only way to have a say and stay in power. It's like the timid intern at a PLC directors meeting, voicing his worthy views and just being ignored by the CEOs as he's young and they all know better.I do think the best way forward is, as others have suggested here, to bow out gracefully of the 'condem nation' and let the torys have their play at making england a better place to live for the rich, and then wipe them out at the next election when the vast majority of england have become sick of broken promises and repression. Otherwise, if they stay in, they'll be tarnished with the 'bad move' brush along with the Conservatives in the mind of the general voter, and yet again Labour will come in.

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