And here’s the People’s Republic with the morning’s papers…

Millennium Elephant brought a copy of London Lite along to the bloggers’ meeting last night, and pointed his fluffy foot to the inch-and-a-half at the bottom of a round-up column recording Clegg’s expected win. That was how much press we got yesterday.

Happily, yesterday’s papers will have gone to press hours before the announcement and this morning is a different story. Here follows a handy aide memoire for the lazy (or just those who want to buy a Danish with their capuccino, and not all the newspapers), lifted from the ever-excellent ePolitix Press Review:


Mr Clegg is a fresh face on the national scene whose manner will incline voters to give him a fair wind. If he is to make the impact that his party desperately needs, he will have to make clear precisely what he means by his promises to deliver “change”, “ambition” and a “liberal future” – words that could have been uttered by both Gordon Brown and David Cameron.


Now that the Liberal Democrat primary is over, Mr Clegg should talk directly to the electorate. He must ignore Westminster tacticians and deliver his own agenda. A hung Parliament may be an outcome. It should not be a strategy.


The Liberal Democrats have elected the younger, more telegenic, slightly more right-leaning of the two candidates. Accepting the job, Mr Clegg set out an admirably concise account of himself. He noted, rightly, that the party has been at its best when it challenges conventional wisdom and consensus. If this is how he intends to carry on, that is an excellent sign.


More than anything else, Mr Clegg must define himself as something other than a second Cameron. He will not get far by hoping that the Tory party is found out. He will need to dive into the news with the sort of audacity Vincent Cable showed during his temporary leadership. That has raised the bar for Mr Clegg, which is good. Daring can pay off.


Mr Clegg must now unite the party and raise his own profile – which will not be easy, judging from a straw poll we publish today, showing he is recognised by fewer than one in six voters… If he fails to inspire, the Lib Dems are back to being what they were for most of the 20th century, a fringe party of protest with no hope of ever becoming a major force in British politics.


We wish him luck… he’ll need it. Support for the Lib Dems has halved, even with livewire stand-in Vince Cable keeping them in the spotlight. They’re counting on fresh-faced Nick to win back voters charmed by David Cameron’s new-look Tories and grab the balance of power after the next election. 


1 Comment

  1. The Mail’s straw poll showing a lack of recognition of Clegg’s photo makes me chuckle! I’m sure they would get the same 1 in 6 response to the question “does the press keep you well informed about current affairs from an impartial perspective”?

    What Clegg must do is to continually point out that the Tories lack both coherence and underlying principles and counter their media shower approach. Cameron’s vague policy idealet here, a nice gesture there, a photo opportunity, lots of smiles but key to being a credible alternative government is policy coherence (how will that policy work with that one and where is the money coming from) all underpinned with a budget and founded on true principles.

    If he’s really clever he could also work on splitting the Tories outlining “say” ten key principle policy tests before it would be even worth talking about talks over a pint – after the next election!

    And a pint is key! No longer the preserve of the male species. He has to gel all that down to that few key messages that pass pub test – I’m voting for Clegg’s Lib Dems because ……!

    One of those messages might well be “to keep the other parties from messing up”!

    What a thing if we could only get it across – that you get better, stronger government if they actually have to win the debate on policies rather than be sure that any old policy will more than likely make it thro – like Iraq! And even better if the Commons represents broadly the votes cast in the election.

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