As I write this I feel very disloyal, like a Benidict Arnold or a William Joyce. I think the time is coming for Nick Clegg to stand down as leader.
I should quickly state that I think he has done an amazing job as leader and raised the profile of the party a million times higher than it has been since the end of the First World War. He has led us into Government and has got many of our pledges from our manifesto straight into the law. Income tax level has been raised, pupil premium, tripple lock pensions protecting them, we've postponed Trident, helped keep the cuts humane(ish) and improved the amount of apprenticships just to name a few.
We are no longer a party of the shadows, the discontents, the weirdy beardy party... The guys with the "Give a quiche a chance" t'shirts. We are a serious party that has achieved and deserves support and our activists are out there trying to drum up support and getting it.
The problem is Nick and this is the hardest thing for me to write.
People on the doorstep are not ennamered with Nick. Ultimatly he could come up with the cure for cancer and bring World peace and the Tories would claim it was their move and Nick would still be criticised for the Tuition fees fiasco.
He is still hated for jumping into bed with the Tories and bringing them into power - even though Labour had really messed up the country and change was 4000% needed in 2010. He is blamed for the cuts (not George Osbourne or David Cameron strangely) and for pathologically lying (Which he didn't do). No amount of;
Yeah but we've done this...
is going to help and good, ney excellent candidates are likely to be left behind and a lesser or worse, UKIP, candidate will get in.
I was listening to the Lord of the Rings soundtrack (Yeah, I know - how awesome am I?) and was thinking about King Theoden of Rohan's comment of "It was not Theoden of Rohan who led our people to victory."
I got to thinking about the party as the kingdom of Rohan and Clegg as Theoden. Theoden was a good king during peace time and in the past wars, he was revered by all but then he fell under the spell of the evil wizard and let the kingdom fall into disarray and had to be saved by a better leader.
Our party is famous for its massive self destruction in 1916 that took almost a century to rectify and has had so many splits and factions in the past we cannot afford for it to happen again as this time it may be fatal.
As much as it pains me to say, Nick needs to step down around Christmas as part of a structured leadership move to allow the new person to get their feet under the table and begin fighting for May 2015. It would give enough time for the party to establish them and the new manifesto as well as have us standing up in Parliament.
I know mine is but one voice in a party of many and that there are those who are more voriferous in their attacks on Nick or in their defence of his position. Ultimatly I think it will come down to a motion at conference, I just think it wouod be better that Nick stood down rather than suffered the humiliation of a rebellion and ousting.