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Posts Tagged ‘Nick Clegg’

Election 2015

The country went to the polls. David Cameron, the Conservative leader, prepared by going around with his sleeves rolled up. Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, said that his pledges had been cut into an eight-foot slab of limestone. Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader, took a bus for John O’Groats.

The Spectator sammanfattar veckan när Storbritannien gick till val.

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VAL Årets val i Storbritannien ser ut leda fram till ännu en regeringskoalition. Frågan är bara om Conservative Party eller Labour blir störst.

Hung Togetherby Adam Boulton och Joey Jones

Så medan valrörelsen rullar in på slutfasen kan det vara intressant gå tillbaka till 2010 när David Camerons fick bilda regering med Nick Cleggs Liberal Democrats.

Med Hung Together: The Cameron-Clegg Coalition har Adam Boulton och Joey Jones skrivet en intressant bok om valkampanjen 2010, regeringsförhandlingarna som följde och Camerons första tid som premiärminister.

En av de mer underhållande delarna är när Boulton, repporter för Sky News, hamnar i en verbal strid med Alastair Campbell.

Campbell hade tidigare varit Tony Blairs director of communication men i valet 2010 hade han ingen officiell position i Labour.

Campbell var känd för sin aggressiva stil gentemot journalister och politiska motståndare. Han hade blivit sinnebilden av en spin doctor.

Ordduellen blev populär på nätet och kan ses på YouTube.

Daily Mail publicerade ett aningen redigerat utdrag från boken.

The best that can be said of the on-air row between Alastair Campbell and me is that it added greatly to the gaiety of the nation.

Many viewers have told me it was the highlight of their General Election. A snowballing YouTube hit, it ‘trended’ on Twitter that night, a new expression to me, meaning it was one of the dominant topics of online-chatter in the English-speaking world.

But it was not one of my proudest moments as a broadcaster. I regret losing my temper, although I stand by the comments I made.

[…]

My instinct was to leave the interview to Jeremy Thompson, at that hour the Sky News channel’s main presenter from Westminster, and I withdrew out of camera-shot.

But just before going live, Campbell challenged me to take part with words to the effect of: ‘Come on, let’s have a dust-up.’

Against my better judgment I agreed to join the discussion. Here is an abridged version of our argument:

Boulton: Why not just go quietly, accept that you lost this election?

Campbell: Because I don’t think that would be the right thing to do.

Boulton: The nation needs four more months of Gordon Brown limping on?

Campbell: You’ve been spending the last few years saying Gordon Brown is dead meat.

Boulton: I’ve not been saying that, show me where I said that once.

Campbell: You’re upset that David Cameron’s not Prime Minister.

Boulton: I’m not. Don’t keep casting aspersions on what I think . . .

Campbell: Calm down.

Thompson: Alastair, Alastair . . .

Campbell: Dignity, dignity.

Boulton: Don’t keep telling me what I think.

Campbell: I don’t care what you think. [laughing] Oh my God, unbelievable. Adam, calm down.

Thompson: Gentlemen, gentlemen.

Boulton: I actually care about this country.

Campbell: You’re as pompous as it gets.

Readers must draw their own conclusions about both of us. My view was that the tide finally going out on Campbell’s influence-peddling exposed him for what he had always been.

He had not expected to be challenged on his tendentious assertions but once he was, he resorted to bullying, baiting, impugning his inconvenient challenger. It may possibly have worked for him during the Kelly affair and the Iraq War, but it didn’t, as history repeated itself as farce, with the attempted ‘Coalition of the Losers’.

Experience told me to walk away and get on with the job of reporting the major political story. I decided not to blog, let alone Twitter, on the matter.

The ‘Boulton v Campbell’ encounter quickly gathered a cult following. Every day since, I have had strangers coming up to me to express their support.

In Haymarket a bus driver jammed on the brakes to give me a double thumbs-up; I’ve had congratulations from policemen to Labour peers and Alastair Campbell has naturally claimed that he has made me famous.

[…]

But even though Campbell instantly claimed to have won the encounter, he and his cronies set about trying to dominate the post-match analysis and to do me as much damage as they possibly could.

That night Campbell contacted the most senior people at Sky News he could find in his BlackBerry to demand action against me.

John Prescott, who seems never to have forgiven me or Sky for breaking the story that he had punched a member of the public in 2001, pointed his 22,000 Twitter followers in the right direction.

He tweeted: ‘Inundated by people wanting link to report Adam Boulton, happy to help.’ Then he gave the address of Ofcom.

Campbell also continued to try to settle scores on Twitter: ‘When JP punched someone, pompous Boulton said he must go!

Wonder if same rules for TV hacks losing it live. Thought the headbutt imminent . . . Really worried about Adam Boulton . . .Wonder if he might need some of my pills. Anji ought to come home from her foreign trip.’

He variously referred to my ‘on-air meltdown’, how I ‘lost it live’, and my ‘live toys-out-of-the-pram tantrum’.

But he couldn’t quite work out who was threatening whom during the publicity interviews for the latest volume of his diaries.

He told The Guardian: ‘There’s one point where I start to move back a little bit. I was thinking, “What do you do if someone headbutts you live on TV?” ’

But, according to PR Week, he also boasted at an awards ceremony: ‘If I hadn’t thought about my mum watching at home, I’d have head-butted him.’

However, along with the banter, Campbell made a more private and insidious attempt to throw his weight around.

The man who had impugned both my and the channel’s professional integrity sent a letter by email that same week to John Ryley, head of Sky News, threatening to sue unless disciplinary action was taken against me.

A copy of Campbell’s email was supplied to me for my information. I reproduce quotations from it here without the permission of John Ryley or indeed Sky News. But I take this step in the firm belief that reading it reveals a lot about the man and his modus operandi.

Following the initial pleasantries, Campbell writes that he has spoken that morning to lawyers: ‘Their advice is that I have every right to complain to Ofcom, and have set out the grounds on which such a complaint ought to be accepted.

However, I see from the media that many others have done this already. So, other than giving publicity to an interview that needs no more, I see little point in doing this. Ofcom will doubtless look at it and make up their own minds.’

Campbell also states he had been advised that what I had said during the interview and afterwards was defamatory: ‘Lawyers draw attention in particular to his questioning of my motivations in seeking to discharge the duty I had been asked by the Prime Minister to fulfill, namely advising him in conjunction with the official government machine on how to navigate a complex constitutional position.

Bild: Hung Together: The Cameron-Clegg Coalition av Adam Boulton & Joey Jones

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VAL 2015 | Inte för att det märks i svensk media men nästa månad går Storbritannien till val.

The Spectator 10 January 2015

Trots att det förväntas bli en strid på kniven har vare sig partiledarna eller de etablerade partierna direkt imponerat så här långt.

Bilden på ovan säger allt om hur David Cameron, Ed Miliband och Nick Clegg uppfattas ha förvaltat sin tid vid makten alternativt i opposition.

Conservative Party borde vid det här laget knappat in betydligt mer på Labour än vad man gjort. Och till skillnad från de andra partiledarna är Miliband mer ett ankare än en tillgång för Labour

Liberal Democrats har i och med sin medverkan i regeringskoalitionen inte längre fördel av att kunna välja och vraka vad man skall ta ansvar för. Med regeringsmakten följer ansvar även för mindre populära beslut.

Även det parti som vinner förväntas göra det med så små marginaler att det kommer att kräva ännu en koalition för att kunna skapa en stabil regering. Och koalitioner är inget man i uppskattar i landet.

James Forsyth, The Spectator, skriver partiernas utmaningar:

Cameron is busy prophesying economic chaos if Labour wins; Miliband is warning that the NHS won’t survive in its current form if the Tories get back in. Nick Clegg, meanwhile, is volunteering to be either the Tories’ heart or Labour’s spine — and stressing that he’s not picky about which. He can’t afford to be. His party could lose half its seats.

As they criss-cross the country, Cameron and Miliband are both spurred on by a fear of failure. Defeat for either of them would almost certainly mark the end of their political career. Cameron’s political life would be over before he was 50. He would be remembered as the man who couldn’t beat Gordon Brown and lost to Ed Miliband. His modernisation programme would be dismissed as an outright failure and his friends and allies would be forced out of positions of influence in the Tory party.

[…]

Whoever ends up in Downing Street in May will be the weakest prime minister in living memory. They will be forced to implement the most difficult half of the austerity programme with a slim to nonexistent parliamentary majority at a time when traditional party discipline is breaking down in the House of Commons.

The best that either party can hope for is the narrowest of outright victories, even smaller than the 21-seat margin that John Major ground out in 1992. Both Cameron and Miliband face the prospect of governing with very little wriggle room.

If Miliband ends up in No. 10 with a tiny majority, he will still find himself having to impose swingeing spending cuts — something his party is just not prepared for. He can’t simply assume that Labour MPs will support a Labour PM. One of the great myths about the Tony Blair years is the idea that Labour MPs blithely went along with whatever he wanted. They didn’t — but his majorities were so large that he could overcome even sizeable rebellions.

Miliband won’t be so lucky. In Blair’s first term, there were several major revolts. In 1997, 47 Labour MPs voted against government plans to cut lone parent benefits, and another 100 abstained. In 1998, 31 rebelled on plans to introduce tuition fees. In 1999, 53 opposed changes to incapacity benefit. In 2000, 37 tried to block the privatisation of air traffic control. Any comparable rebellion would sink Miliband. To make matters worse for him, he will have to implement policies that are far less appealing to the parliamentary Labour party than the Blairite reforms. Can you really imagine the Campaign Group of Labour MPs voting to continue the public–sector pay freeze?

Tidskriftsomslag: The Spectator, 10 januari 2015.

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Lagom inför debatten mellan Nick Clegg och Nigel Farage släppte Miljöpartiets motsvarighet i Storbritannien, Green Party, denna video.

Som valfilm är den lite för lång och det tar nästan två minuter innan vi får träffa huvudpersonen.

Videon, som driver med partiledarna för Liberal Democrats och United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), laddades upp lagom inför andra debatten mellan Clegg och Farage.

Lägg märke till fotot på Angela Merkel på skrivbordet och Margaret Thatcher i baren.

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EU 2014 | Vem hade någonsin kunnat ana för bara ett år sedan att de svenska partierna skulle var näst intill ointresserade av EU-valet.

De flesta antog nog att partierna skulle mobilisera inför EU-valet i år. Om inte annat för att valresultatet mycket väl skulle kunna uppfattas av väljarna som en indikation om hur det kommer att gå i september.

Idag ser det mer ut som om partierna vill spara på krutet. Varför slösa bort en massa pengar när man kommer behöva rejält med resurser inför riksdags-, kommunal- och landstingsvalen?

Vill man se lite action får man istället vända sig till Storbritannien.

Där har partiledarna för Liberal Democrats och UK Independence Party – Nick Clegg respektive Nigel Farage – redan debatterat två gånger.

Tyvärr har båda partiledarna för Conservative Party och Labour tackat nej. Anledningen är enkel. Både partiernas partiledare, David Cameron och Ed Miliband, har problem med sin EU-politik.

Tory pressas av många EU kritiska medlemmar och anhängare. Labour är i grunden positiva till Europasamarbetet men vet också att många ute i landet är skeptiska.

Kvar blir då Liberaldemokraterna och UKIP. Liberalerna är klart för medlemskapet. UKIP är lika klart emot. Båda har allt att vinna på att synas och höras med sina tydliga budskap.

Övrigt: Andra debatten mellan Clegg och Farage kan man se här.

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STRATEGI | Storbritannien går till val i maj 2015. Men redan nu kan vi se hur partierna förbereder sig inför valrörelsen.

David Cameron - Foto Getty Images

Alla tecken tyder på att nästa val kommer att bli än mer presidentlikt än förra.

Conservative Party har insett att så länge som David Cameron inger större förtroende bland väljarna än övriga partiledare är det naturligt att se premiärministern som sin största strategiska tillgång.

Så länge som han är (relativt) populärare än huvudmotståndarna Nick Clegg och Ed Miliband framstår det som ett naturligt vägval.

Men att framhäva Cameron i tid och otid fungerar naturligtvis bara så länge han inte begår några större politiska misstag.

Oavsett vilket är skulle det vara svårt att inte bygga upp valrörelsen kring premiärministern när partiet innehar posten. (Vi kommer knappast se Moderaterna tona ner Fredrik Reinfeldt inför valet. Snarare tvärt om.)

James Forsyth, politisk redaktör på The Spectator, skriver:

The outlines of the Tory campaign are already visible. One thing that stands out is that it will rely on David Cameron even more than it did at the last election. Some will question the wisdom of this, pointing out that the big billboard posters of him in 2010 backfired badly. Others will wonder what more there is to say about Cameron given that by 2015 he’ll have been leading the party for nearly ten years. But in Downing Street they are unmoved by these arguments. To their minds, the party would be mad not to rely on him given that he polls 18 points ahead of it.

People in the Liberal Democrat constituencies that the Conservatives need to take are going to hear a Cameron-centred message again and again. The emphasis will be that Tory candidates can offer what Liberal Democrat MPs cannot: a vote for them is a vote for Cameron to be returned to No. 10.

[…]

It is already apparent how the Lib Dems will respond to this Conservative approach. They’ll claim that without them, this would have been a government of the super-rich for the super-rich. One Lib Dem Cabinet minister told me recently, with visible excitement, that he has a drawer in his desk where he puts every potentially unpopular idea proposed by Conservatives. At the next election, he says, he’s going to take them all out and say to people if it wasn’t for us, you’d all have been fired at will and the rich would have had all the tax cuts. They’ll also argue that, without them, Cameron would have been held hostage by his ‘tea-party’ tendency. They’ll take the most outlandish statements made by Conservative MPs — putting all benefit claimants on food stamps, reintroducing Section 28 and the rest — and claim  that Cameron would have been forced into doing this if he was governing with his party alone.

[…]

Those around Ed Miliband dispute the idea that the Conservatives are really that confident about their leader’s appeal, pointing to Tory scepticism about televised leaders’ debates. They also emphasise that Cameron’s popularity is about half what it was when Miliband became Labour leader.

[…]

The irony of the Cameroons continuing reliance on Cameron is that it is an admission of failure. If they had genuinely succeeded in changing voters’ perceptions of the party, they wouldn’t have to rely on the leader so much. But that is where they are and the reason why the next campaign will be the most presidential yet.

Bild: David Cameron – Getty Images.

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VARUMÄRKE | Problemen för Liberal Democrats  i Storbritannien påminner mycket om Jan Björklunds i Alliansen.

Båda Nick Cleggs Liberal Democrats och Jan Björklunds Folkpartiet ingår i regeringskoalitioner som domineras av ett betydligt större parti – Conservatives respektive Moderaterna.

I båda fallen har det påverkat opinionssiffrorna negativt. Liberaldemokraterna har t.ex. förlorat 4 miljoner väljare sedan valet 2010.

Båda partierna verkar idag sakna idéer för hur man skall lyckas omvandla sitt regeringsinnehav till ett valvinnande koncept.

Och både här och i Storbritannien har man nu dessutom kommit halvvägs in i mandatperioden. Skal man lyckas måste man göra det nu. Tiden håller på att rinna ut.

En stor skillnad är dock att det här knappast finns någon som tror att regeringen kommer att spricka innan valet. I London spekuleras det friskt om att liberalerna inte kommer att sitta kvar hela vägen till nästa val.

Peter Kellner, vid opinionsinstitutet YouGov, har för Prospect identifierat fyra relaterade problem partiets ideologi, politik, varumärke och ledarskap – som partiet måste hantera om inte nästa val skall sluta i katastrof för partiet.

The question is as tough as it is obvious: can the Liberal Democrats revive their flagging fortunes?

[…]

In 2010, the great majority of Labour and Conservative voters also identified with their party (the figures were 84 per cent and 76 per cent respectively.) With the Lib Dems the figure was much smaller: just 43 per cent. Of the 6.8m people who voted for them, just under 3m identified with the party, while almost 4m did not.

It has been like this for many years. The Lib Dem core vote has always been tiny. They add to their support at general elections and, even more spectacularly, by-elections by attracting the tactical votes of people who identify with other parties, and a large slice of the people who don’t identify with any party.

In 2010, the Lib Dems secured the votes of 1.6m Labour identifiers and 1.8m people with no party ID. The group identifying itself as Labour was more left-wing than Labour voters generally.

[…]

As for the 1.8m people with no party identity who voted Lib Dem last time, the Lib Dems have lost more than 1.5m.

[…]

The collapse of these two distinct sources of Lib Dem support explains most of their decline, from 24 per cent of the electorate in 2010 to around 10 per cent today. In contrast, support among Lib Dem identifiers has held up rather better, from 2.9m votes two years ago to 2.3m today.

[…]

YouGov research indicates that there are four related problems that the party must address.

1. Ideology. […] Most right-of-centre voters place the Lib Dems on the left and most left-of-centre voters place the party on the right. Few voters feel that the party’s ideological location is the same as their own. This is especially marked among voters who have switched from Lib Dem to Labour: they are overwhelmingly on the left themselves, but feel that the Lib Dems no longer are.

[…]

2. Policies. [I]t’s common for parties to embrace a range of policies, some of which the public like and some they don’t. But here’s the rub. With every policy position we tested, the people who turn out to be the keenest on the Lib Dem stance are those who describe themselves as “very left-wing.” This means that the party is sending out conflicting messages. Judged by its policies it is well to the left; judged by its continuing partnership with the Conservatives, it veers to the right.

Sadly for the party, it seems that right-of-centre voters look at the party through the prism of policies, and don’t like what they see, while left-of-centre voters look at its alliance with the Tories and are equally put off.

[…]

3. Brand. The confusion of ideology and policy has crippled the Lib Dem brand. Most people—and a huge majority of Lib Dem deserters—say they don’t know what the party stands for, and think it has broken its promises.

4. Leadership. Elections are not just about the message. They are also, increasingly, about the messenger. Is Clegg the right man to lead his party into the next election?

[…]

Separate analysis of one of YouGov’s tracker questions confirms Clegg’s poor standing, especially among the 4m Lib Dem deserters.

Bild: Tidskriftsomslaget är Prospect september 2012.

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