…and prepare for cuts.
…and prepare for cuts.
The combination of a hangover and Clegg seems to have got the better of Charles Kennedy. Citing a “late train” he pulled out of various events yesterday and was nowhere to be seen at this morning’s Guardian fringe event. And now thanks to the irreplaceable EyeSpy.MP we learn that Charlie boy is already on the way back to London without sticking around for a his leader’s speech. Hardly a ringing endorsement…
There are those that suggest Clegg has “sold out” or “betrayed” the LibDems and some lazy elements of the media are attempting to play this angle up. In light of his keynote speech this afternoon, Guido thought he would rewind to last year.
Which deceitful, treacherous rogue said in 2009 “bold and even “savage” cuts in government spending will be necessary to bring the public deficit down after the next election”? It’s not as if he didn’t warn his party what was coming…
Part of the reason for the current vitriol from the Labour Party towards the LibDems is that they took it for granted that the LibDems were a party of the left. As patronising as it was wrong.
On election night Guido was on ITN with Will Straw, off screen when it became clear there would be no overall majority, we argued for most of the night about what might happen. Straw basically thought Guido was bonkers to believe that a Liberal – Conservative Change Coalition was not only desirable, but that it was really possible. Will could not conceive of it happening, the subsequent widespread shock on the left when it did happen perhaps explains why the Labour Party is so scornful of the LibDems.
Guido always suspected the ex-Cambridge University Conservative Association member and son of a merchant banker might not be so keen on making common cause with Ed Balls and Gordon Brown. The polls might not support this view today, but that collective mis-judgement by Labour may cost them their second party status in the end.
David Cameron’s father Ian has had a stroke and the PM is currently en route to France to be with his family. After holiday and paternity leave it seems Clegg will be minding the shop a little longer. Last time he did PMQs he managed to substantially alter British foreign policy concerning the war and was slapped down. Even against Jack Straw, who put in a dire performance, he could only muster a no score-draw. Presumably Harman will be yielding to her deputy again today…
Interestingly it will be Clegg will be taking the brunt of the Coulson heat. The LibDems stuck it to him during the election. Watch him change his tune now…
Nick Clegg says…
“The Labour Party has become consumed by collective bile towards … the Liberal Democrats. That portrays a rather nasty arrogance. They can’t believe that [we] could have done anything but fall into line with them. I get the impression, listening to the juvenile vitriol of the leadership candidates, that they can’t believe the Liberal Democrats decided to make up their own minds. I just think their leadership contest has been very dull and very dispiriting. You get the impression that none of them is up to the task of asking what’s happened to them as a party and to Britain. They seem strangely conservative, if I dare say it.”
Next month it will be decided, according to the Guardian, as to if Dave will speak at Nick’s party conference and vice-versa:
The issue is due to be discussed at a joint political cabinet at the end of July, when the two parties will also decide how to co-ordinate policy announcements at their respective conferences and how to sell the success of the joint government’s first few months.
Risky. Very, very risky. It could end in tears since the grassroots of both parties have fought viscerally for generations. A lot of booing won’t look good on telly…
Currently punters on specialist bookies Political Smarkets lean towards it happening, giving a 60% chance of Clegg addressing Tory conference and a 70% probability that Cameron will try to charm the sandalistas. Guido reckons they are asking for trouble…
A flurry of articles this morning have picked up on Sarah Palin’s very excitable Facebook declaration that she was coming to London meet “one of my political heroines, the “Iron Lady,” Margaret Thatcher.” The Guardian is predictably sneering. The Mail on Sunday had the scoop first and raised the question of whether Cameron would meet the former Vice-Presidential nominee and potential Presidential candidate of the American sister party.
In Downing Street you can imagine the battle lines being drawn already. This is the stuff that Steve Hilton’s nightmares are made of, yet Palin has an obvious glitzy appeal to the right of the party and tabloid media, something Andy Coulson will know instinctively. As PM it would be extremely discourteous for Dave not to meet and be photographed with Palin if she was in town, a coutesy British PMs have extended to lesser known American politicians. Guido’s transatlantic sources indicate that she could be over on this side of the pond in the Autumn, perhaps around the time of Conservative Party conference, just when Dan Hannan and Douglas Carswell will be launching their Direct Democracy version of the American Tea Party movement.
Another headache for the Cameroons will be what the Deputy Prime Minister has to say about all this, since Clegg was perhaps expecting to be invited to be the surprise speaker in Birmingham…
Clegg’s press secretary, Rae Stewart, was “strictly” limiting attendance for a keynote speech by Nick Clegg tomorrow to “one journalist per publication” on Thursday.
Date: Sun, 13 Jun 2010 14:26:37 +0100
Subject: Advance extracts of DPM speech on Monday
Please find attached (and in text form below) embargoed extracts from the Deputy Prime Minister’s speech to the Institute for Government tomorrow. Please also note that access to hear the speech is limited, which is why I asked that those of you who would like to attend email me by 17.00 Friday. Not many have done so yet, but as I suspect that quite a few of you will want to be there I’ll extend the deadline until 11.30 tomorrow morning.
Rae seems to have wildly overestimated the box-office appeal of Clegg who is basically going to say “There is nothing progressive about condemning ourselves and our children to decades of debt, higher interest rates, fewer jobs.” Guido will give it a miss, and suspect it won’t be quite the sell out event they anticipate…
UPDATE :The media grid in Downing Street doesn’t seem very coordinated, Cameron is making a statement on Afghanistan at 14.30, the same time Clegg is giving his speech.
Nick Clegg went to great efforts before the election to voice concerns about the extradition of autistic hacker Gary McKinnon. He even went as far to stand side by side in solidarity with Janis Sharp, Gary’s mother, at a protest and also said “It’s simply not good enough for Alan Johnson to shrug his shoulders and claim that nothing can be done”.
Fast-forward a few months and it’s quite a different tune “What I haven’t got the power to do, neither has the home secretary, neither has even the prime minister, is to completely reverse and undo certain legal aspects of this. It’s legally very complex.” Who was it that said the Lib Dems could say whatever they wanted without a hope of getting into government…
Guido’s Column | Sun
UKIP’s Contempt for Our Free Press | Alex Wickham
Clegg Will Stay Until 2020 | Times
Farage’s Aide and Her Pussy at Work | Times
UKIP Funding Controversy | Times
We Need a Democratic Reinvigoration | Chris Deerin
Clegg’s Patriotic Guff | Quentin Letts
Even the BBC Accepts the Licence Fee Must Go | ConHome
More to Women Than Boosting GDP | Ruth Lea
ThinkProgress Controlled: “I Was an Obamabot” | Zaid Jilani
Free People Don’t Care About Politics | Fraser Nelson
Alan Rusbridger opines…
“One thing that Snowden has taught us journalists is that it’s essential to be paranoid.”