Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Calamity or Saviour ?

So Clegg is the winner for the Lib Dems but will he be the herald of a new resurgence or the caretaker of the remaining decline?

One thing that has been completely absent from the LD leadership contest has been any clue about which way each leader will take their party.

Most agree that the Liberals must decide whether they are going to carry on appealing to the 'anyone but the Tories' voters as they have been doing since the late 1980's or start to develop policies that will attract the growing band of 'anyone but Labour' voters - especially in the Northern counties of England that may hold the key at the next election.

The problem is that two thirds of their Parliamentary seats, including this one, are held by MP's who have depended on tactical voting by Labour supporters (voting 'anyone but the Tories) and to keep those voters on board Clegg needs to sound reassuringly left wing.

The trouble is, that is the complete opposite of what he will need to do if he wants to motivate Tory voters in tight Lib Dem/Labour marginals to support his party instead of a third-placed Conservative candidates.

Given that Cleggs own seat (Sheffield Hallam) is a former Tory stronghold don't bet on a sudden change of direction anytime soon. Expect a Lib Dem 'hunker down' policy designed to hang on to as many of the former Tory seats as possible.

Whether Clegg is the man to do this successfully or not remains an open question.

Have a good Christmas, the site may not be updated again for a few days, now.


David Brownley. said...

I think Clegg will give a good account of himself. Principally by going rather unremarked for a while. Other Lib-Dems have made headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Anonymous said...

i am so angry, i cannot believe the right found out about our secret liberal agenda! we have been hoarding LSD to dump in water supplies and planned to secretly steal all the dress white uniforms from the navy and tie dye them overnight. but damn! you're on to our mission - an attempt to actually get people to act in a civil way towards each other! now we'll just have to let you go ahead with your plan to act like nasty, arrogant, self proclaimed geniuses