National and Local politics from a Liberal Democrat from Gillingham, Kent
Friday, 13 September 2013
In Clegg we trust?
As Conference comes around again there have been the usual rumblings and suggestions in the Press that Nick Clegg's leadership of the Liberal Democrat party is coming to an end and that dissatisfied activists are going to try and oust him this weekend or make serious challenges to his leadership.
These have proved baseless since the Tuition fees rise three years ago but still haunt the party. The thing is there is light at the end of the Coalition tunnel and many activists are starting to look at 2015 and wondering if we were to go for a new leader now would be a good time to get them in and feet under desks.
Although Nick has scored many goals for the party and we have got more than we deserved out of the Coalition agreement (so much so the Tories are claiming our policies for their own!) I do still fear that we have been tainted by some of the rotten policies to come through this government. Controversial bedroom taxes, the badger cull, harsh economic cuts that could have been handled a lot better and the rise of train fares yet again.
I was brought up to be able to think for myself, however I also learnt and accepted the line that I should follow orders quietly and just get on with things and I have supported the Coalition through the rough and the smooth despite any misgivings.
I had hoped we would be more vocal in our opposition to some of the Bluer policies but that has not come to be despite the Lords reform betrayal.
Indeed Nick has rebelled against the Government once...
His popularity with the voters has plummeted over the last few years and there is a raft of really disgruntled members (the ones who haven't left us for Labour) and there are others like me who are starting to waiver a little bit.
I personally feel uncomfortable with some of the policies that we have put our name too and although I think we will survive and be in a stronger position come 2015's election I do feel that maybe new Leadership is required to help us stand apart a lot more.
Don't get me wrong, I love Clegg. I think he was fantastic and personally very charismatic - it was his pre DPM campaigning and ethos that brought me forward to be active in the first place but he has been lost in David Cameron's shadow and unfortunately I fear that his star has dulled and he has agreed with Dave one too many times.
Whether Conference will ratify him again or revile the Coalition is something to be seen and I will stand where I have always stood, behind our leader whomever that will be.