Political Promise

Clegg’s Debate Victory Means Nothing

In Elliot Colburn on April 16, 2010 at 6:20 pm

Nick Clegg emerged the supposed winner of the first election debate of the 2010 General Election. Whilst not all together surprising that he won – being the bookies favourite – there is a question of why he won. In truth, he only won because he was the only leader who could say what he liked. The Liberal Democrats have always had the ability to say whatever they liked, because they just will not have to put their ideas in practice. The New Labour Era has also been the Liberal Democrat era, but I honestly believe that Lib Dem support peaked in 2005. Their position in the polls would suggest that they would return a very poor set of election results in the upcoming election, whilst UKIP and the Greens are on an unnerving rise of support. The time has come to choose between a Labour government and a Conservative government, and a vote for Clegg and the Liberal Democrats is a waste and a joke.

So why does his victory mean nothing? Well his victory was won on a poll of 4000 voters. Considering that millions of people are eligible to vote in the UK – 4000 isn’t a convincing number. In addition, his victory was taken regardless of party preference. This is similar to the US political climate. Republicans have rigid support for their party, however not even the most right-wing Americans can deny that President Barack Obama is a much better public speaker and debater than John McCain ever was. In addition, Clegg’s ONLY victory was the performance. Conservative Leader David Cameron came top of the polls on all questions asked about the CONTENT of the debate. This includes immigration, crime, education and bureaucracy. As a final thought, all polls taken since the debate still put David Cameron and the Conservative Party as favourites to govern the country – with Clegg and the Liberal Democrats still trailing in third place.

This victory does not mean we are going to have a shock Liberal Democrat government. The Liberal Democrats continue to delude themselves of their chances in the general election. Many are calling Clegg even now, a one trick pony. This was only one of three debates, and I sincerely doubt Clegg will win another. He doesn’t even have the full backing of his party. Tory, Labour and Lib Dem supporters followed the debate, and Clegg’s own supporters believe he performed worse than Cameron and even Brown. This is not surprising however. It is not a secret that the Lib Dems are a divided party – torn between the leadership of Nick Clegg and Vince Cable. The Liberal Democrat manifesto is a farce. After reading all the manifestos, it is clear the Liberal Democrats don’t have any confidence in their own policies and would fall apart if put in a position of governance. They are liars, cheats and name droppers – relying on opponent blunders to improve their own position and have ideas above their station. This victory means nothing – it is being hyped because Nick Clegg is the leader of the ‘third party’. No doubt the Lib Dems will use this rare victory to hype their own campaign, as it is the only thing they have going for them. The Lib Dem position can be summed up by some well-chosen words of Margaret Thatcher’s, “This is an X parrot”.

Elliot Colburn

  1. I found myself initially agreeing with the balanced and sober judgement in this article however it descended (particuarly in the last paragraph) to an arrogant dismissal of the Liberal Democrats and a PEB on behalf of the Conservatives.

    It is right to say that the win in the first debate will mean little come May 6th and that the hype following is a mixture of surprise at the apathy of the two main parties and also an inevitable result of the need to fill the news with Election 2010 for 45 minutes of the hours news. However if you are unwilling to trust the reliability of the post-debate polls then you will reject the opinion polls which put the Conservatives first? Polls are not a final decision they are an indicator of a final decision, and they indicate correctly that Clegg won the debate hands down and also they indicate we will have a Conservative government very soon.

    What is perhaps most ridiculous here is the dismissal of “a vote for Clegg and the Liberal Democrats is a waste and a joke.” Who people choose to vote is their own choice and I suspect the Lib Dems will gain many votes from Labour in particular whose leftist-base are being neglected (until the campaign began at least). Moreover to the Conservatives, the energy and importantly, the substance offered by Clegg showed them what they should have – I never thought I would praise Nick Clegg but hats off to the man; he showed Cameron what he should be doing. The fact the election is not a foregone conclusion is an embarassment to the Conservatives – you mentioned Thatcher, I am by no means a fan but by god she would have wrapped up this election two years ago. Mr. Cameron’s mid-term report would say ‘must do better.’

  2. Your final comment sums up an ignorance of the history of the quote from Mrs Thatcher.

    She actually said “This is an ex-parrot” (not “x”) and just weeks later the Lib Dems won a shock by-election victory against the Tories in Eastbourne.

    Nice analogy for the Lib Dems. I suggest you learn your political history before writing such rubbish in future.

  3. The Lib Dems aren’t the third party anymore – they’ve knocked Labour into third place in the polls throwing a spanner in the works of your argument and into our electoral system, which could throw up even more bizarre results than usual.

  4. What a vote for the LibDems will mean in practice is a change to Single Transferable Vote.

    Conservatives will never give them that, so they will have to do a deal with Labour, (if they haven’t already). After that, there will be no such thing as an electable Conservative party, which was Brown’s only true aim in politics, such is his hatred of it. What the liberals cannot understand is that this does not serve their purpose any more than it does the Conservatives, as Labour through the trade unions, will create unlimited power for themselves and subsume the liberals for their own needs. The rural English will be set into continual penury, largely unrepresented outside of the cities, subservient to the metropolitans.

    STV in this country will lead eventually to absololute bankruptcy as he left will have no effective opposition. What will the money markets do on 7th May if Labour continue backed by the Liberals, on a promise of STV? I think they will desert the UK with much haste and our probable default will be brought into immediate focus.

  5. Isn’t it clear that all three leaders were worried about being clear and straight with us about the extent of the financial mess? Clegg repeatedly stated that he wanted a better Britain that was fairer – would anyone ever say they wanted a worse Britain that was more unfair?
    The size of the deficit moves every day, the impact of any spending cuts will vary over time, and the impact on the public services will depend on the management and leadership of the the services, to make fewer pounds go further.
    What needs to be clearly argued out is whether a tax hike puts money in to the “economy” when really it just puts money into the public sector – the Labour party seems to believe that the public sector is the economy, when actually the productive, profitable, private sector is the source of funds that pay for these public services. We cannot afford to lay on services that are not paid for from our own tax resources in the end. It’s a hard message, so it’s not “nice” for any of the leaders to spell out – they all seem quite good blokes really, but all getting a bit lost in trying to guess what will be popular.

  6. I must admit I was somewhat shocked by the vehement dismissal of the Liberal Democrats as ‘liars, cheats and name droppers’ – Whether intentional or not Mr. Colburn, you allow yourself to be presented as a somewhat hysteric Conservative who is panicking over the fact that ‘Call me Dave’ has not got this election sewn up.
    Nick Clegg will not become the next Prime Minister of this country. However, he and his party will have a major role in deciding who does become the next PM. Having never been a fan of his personally or his performances at PMQ’s, I was surprised to see him acquit himself so well, although I agree his performance does have to be quantified. He was under very little pressure, unlike Gordon Brown, who has 13 years of government to defend, or David Cameron, who has to convince us within the next 3 weeks that he is capable of leading this country for at least the next five years. So, Mr Clegg is able to cut loose a little bit, present his policies without much fear of being vilified, the way Labour’s proposed NI increase has, or the Conservatives failure to outline a clear and fully costed plan which will secure the recovery has.
    So a pat on the back for Nick Clegg for at least injecting some life into this election race. His party can damage the other two, even if the Conservatives take an expected victory, Lib Dem support could eat into their final seat count, and prevent them having a ruling mandate, and with a Lib-Con coallition looking unlikely, this will damage the Tories quite considerably. In Labour’s case, just as they looked to be remerging as a serious contender they again fall behind, but they only dropped 3 points in the polls, whereas the Conservatives had a 6 point drop, meaning there is still a possibility they will hang on to a majority, but nowhere near enough to govern. The debates showed Nick Clegg has style, but they reiterated what should not be forgotten, regardless of image, charisma or oratorical skill, Gordon Brown has the substance. The numbers add up, and whilst the Lib Dem’s fantasy land tax breaks look wonderful on paper, they seem a little bit too far fetched, certainly for a government who will have to cut the biggest budget deficit this country has ever had. As for the Conservatives, the gaps in their budget are staggering, their shadow chancellor’s apparent lack of economic acumen is equally surprising, and their leaders failure to have won this election the moment Lehman Brothers collapsed and the world tightened their belts is nothing short of bewildering.
    So, whilst Nick Clegg has shaken up the other two parties, he won’t win, but he might just have made people take a closer look at David Cameron,who inspires little confidence, and if he wins it will be purely through a lesser of two evils vote for the majority of voters. Which for a man elected as the leader of his party on his “vote winning image” really is a poor show, regardless of how often The Sun,Daily Mail and the billboards (at least those which haven’t been defaced, or daubed with more relevant messages) tell us he will save Britain.

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