Daily Archives: 8 September 2008

Politigg – should it stay or should it go?

I’ve been experimenting with Politigg for a few days now and am currently in the happy position of dominating most of its pages. But that isn’t really much use if the reason is that no-one else uses it. So what do people think? A bad idea entirely? I should promote a social bookmarking site but not this one? Anyone else willing to experiment?

I’ve added a poll in my sidebar, but what I’d really like from people is comments to this post.

Where’s Lemby? Day Seven

Is there really nothing else to write about Lembit Opik other than bloody Segways? Sheesh! It even makes it in a leader in the Independent today!

Fortunately, Jeremy Hargreaves is on hand to provide some analysis:

Would electing Lembit as President “split the party”? No, I think that’s going a bit far. But, given where people are now, I do think that the party in the country effectively imposing Lembit as President on people who actually have to work with the person in that role, would be highly divisive. And once settled into post, it wouldn’t necessarily get easier – see for example how uncomfortable many Welsh party members were with having the Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats having the celebrity profile that Lembit had.

Gideon Osborne: how to make saying nothing into a virtue

Gideon Osborne has announced that, due to the “complete economic mess” the Conservatives will have to rewrite all their economic policies. To a degree that makes sense, except when you remember one thing:

They don’t have any economic policies!

Osborne has done a brilliant job at not saying anything about what he plans to do for three years. In fairness, he did announce three nuggest last autumn – raising the IHT threshold, lowering Stamp Duty and paying for both with a charge on non-domiciles – but even these backfired slighly when it was realised that the latter couldn’t even begin to pay for the other two. Now he’s even wiped these off the slate.

I mock him, but I do actually admire his low cunning. He recognises that getting bogged down into specifics can only do his party harm, so he avoids them like the plague. And with the economy in the state that it is, he is ultimately only stating the obvious when he says that any policies now would need to be revised before the general election. It is going to be difficult to beat the Tories with the economics stick and have much impact, despite the fact that in three years Osborne has failed to demonstrate any economic acumen (as opposed to PR).

Being a third party and vying for a platform, the Lib Dems can’t afford to play the same game, but after the last six weeks it has become clear that greater discretion on the part of our leader when it comes to taxation plans is sorely needed.

Nick Clegg dismisses u-turn on tax as “mere details”

Thanks to Linda Jack for pointing me in the direction of Nick Clegg’s interview on the Westminster Hour on Sunday evening.

In a fairly bad tempered interview given the easy ride that Caroline Quinn gives him (just imagine what a Paxo or Humphries would have made of this), he goes back to the formulation which most of the party is pretty comfortable with, namely that if we can meet all our spending priorities and “have money to spare” we should provide further tax cuts to people on “low and middle incomes.” This is a complete and utter u-turn in comparison with his Telegraph interview in which he says that the “vast bulk” of the party’s planned £20bn savings will be ploughed into tax cuts for “people on middle incomes.” In one particularly dismissive phrase, Clegg goes onto suggest that this wobble is all due to bloggers (in particular “Clegg’s Candid Friend”) getting “carried away” with “mere details”. I think I would put in another way:

funny pictures
moar funny pictures

I have to admit to getting heartily sick of this shit. Whether it is about God, how many lovers he’s had, the Lisbon Treaty and now tax, Clegg is incapable of getting it right first time whenever he talks to a journalist. His interview in the Telegraph marked a significant shift in policy. If we hadn’t got obsessed with “mere details” (what’s a few tens of billions of pounds between friends?), the confusion would have continued.

Clegg’s problem when talking to the media was identified during the leadership election. He’s had the best part of a year to sort this out, yet every couple of months he goes off on one playing silly buggers like this. It simply isn’t good enough.

When I wrote on Comment is Free last month that the party has a major communications problem which lies at Clegg’s door, I got a lot of stick for making a problem out of nothing. I can only hope that a few more people now realise this is actually quite a huge issue which needs to be resolved urgently.