Libdem cllr tells Clegg – ‘open your eyes’

1:06 pm - May 4th 2012

by Newswire    

      Share on Tumblr

Sunderland’s only Lib Dem called on Nick Clegg to “open his eyes” as he became the first victim of his party’s massacre at the polls.

This is what he said to a reporter from Sunderland Echo

The key quote:

Nick Clegg should take a real hard look at what they are doing as it has been really bad tonight. He needs to listen, he’s got to do something.

via Sunderland Echo

    Share on Tumblr   submit to reddit  

About the author

· Other posts by

Story Filed Under: News

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Reader comments

It’s not just Clegg though, it’s pretty much all the LibDem Orange Bookers that are fronting the party.

Sorry Buddy but everyone else can see that Nick Clegg has been wearing a Tory Rosette for two years now and supports all Tory policies.

It looks like everyone but the Liberal Democrats themselves have noticed this !

3. Man on Clapham Omnibus

I cant see how Clegg can change without undermining the basis of the coalition. For Clegg it was a long shot to show the people how responsible Liberals can be in power. Sadly , there was a fatal flaw in this project; it presuposed that there were sufficient numbers of rational,intelligent and politically sophisticated people in the country to come to such conclusions and act upon them.

Being subject to the debacle that was the Ken and Boris show however, it becomes pretty plain that people generally have no idea of politics or political issues and either vote on the basis of Personality or as a vague reaction to potential or real changes to their material circumstances.Hardly a surprise really when many have spent a decade maxing out their credit cards and watching X factor. I have no doubt that if Millibean ever got into power we would be seeing exactly the same in reverse. The notion of politics as something people have to think about is long gone. Since that is a cornerstone of democracy I cant think the is much hope on the horizon.

Personally in the next general election I shall vote for the best looking penguin!

Better still, get Clegg to read this in the weekend edition of the FT:

Brussels signals easing of fiscal rules:

5. margin4error

The lib dems used to be two parties in one. the social democrats and the liberal party – the second being rather to the political right of the first – both being somewhere near the middle in general.

Clegg as a leader was very much of the liberal party rather than the social democrats. Indeed he was arguably closer to Tory thinking than social democrat thinking anyway, given that he was of course a tory aide not so many political moons ago.

That was fine in opposition where a middle ground could be maintained between the two parties – but in a tory government the sdp vote has quite understandably ditched the libdems – largely for labour, though in part for the greens and snp. There isn’t anything clegg could do to reverse that. Fundamentally it was a half of a coalition party that simply saw itself as being on the political left, and now feels it can’t trust a party that is of the right.

In the long run this frees the way for the lib dems to ditch the dem bit and go back to being pure lib. That will be a much smaller party than the libs and the dems together – but coalition has shown up what a fudge that really was all along. This ex-councillor needs to wake up and recognise that the libs are now a smaller party with a much narrower appeal – and if that’s not his constituent voter and he;s sdp rather than lib, then he’s not really very important to clegg anyway?

@5 margin4error

– interesting analysis, and underlines a risk if Labour were to move strongly to the left in reaction to the Tories or a Respect by-election victory.

It was of course a harder left position for Labour (which was out of kilter with the consensus in the 1980’s) that spawned the creation of the SDP.

Now you queried what sort of Liberal vote there was in his ward. Well he was the councillor for Millfield which will have a high student population – or at least it did in the early 1990’s when I was there – then the cost of tuition fees would have been a particularly sensitive issue – more so at Sunderland than at many other universities.

So this Lib dem councillor was Clegg’s toehold in a solid red council, part of Clegg’s ambition to have a broader appeal than the rural South West “anyone but the Tory gentry” vote. But with his support for tuition fees – a tax on future wealth creation – he killed off this broader appeal in Sunderland.

7. margin4error

Thanks David for the info on the area this Councillor was from.

It may well be then, that rather than an illustration of a dem Councillor upset that he’s now in a largely exclusively lib party – that he is a lib rather than a dem, but one who is annoyed about a single policy that has cost him votes because of the unique nature of his ward. ie he’s just a malcontent loser.

That said, it is worth noting that charging for education fits well with a lib mentality of individualism rather than a dem mentality of social good – so although his situation may not reflect an ejected dem, the cause may still be because the leadership is lib not dem and so reflects lib outlooks and priorities rather than dem ones.

And I can’t see Labour reacting right now by doing anything other than more of the same. I don’t rate miliband as a figurehead, but his strategic positioning of his party as a more liberal-left form of the labour party is getting reasonable results, in part by appealing to upset dems.

7. margin4error

with you on Milliband,but your inferences on Mr Dixon the Sunderland Lib-Dem exCllr are a bit harsh. Whether he is a Liberal or Social Democrat it is reasonable of him to lambast “Clegg and his cronies”. No one becomes a Libdem councillor in Sunderland without a strong belief in the politics of the party, a desire to influence local politics, and a lot of hard work.

I expect his anger and annoyance is because he and and his friends will have worked very hard to get the toe hold in Sunderland they previously had, and that work has in his view been undone so carelessly. I don’t think that makes him “just a malcontent loser”. However, he may or may not be feeling that the party is now not the party he came into politics for.

9. margin4error


I think that may make make him the epitome of a malcontent loser – but I shouldn’t have said “just” – which is unfair, knowing as well as I do how much hard work goes into getting elected and how much of a commitment it involves in terms of time and passion – I shouldn’t have been so dismissive of his past efforts.

I just meant it in terms of his relevance to the wider malaise of the party. It may be he’s upset because he thinks one or two specific policies hit his ward. In which case there’s not much will happen to change that and the liberal party can largely ignore such concerns. Individual policies will always upset some people. If however, it is because the left of the party has left the party – well then he either needs to leave the party as a lefty or come to terms with the fact that his party is a more narrow organisation now and won’t win as many seats any more as a result.

That’s something very hard for lib dems to accept. It is hard to see the team you support and have committed to for so long lose. In sport though, there is a tribal affiliation based only on tribal affiliation. In politics that tribal affiliation is based, at least in its first phase, on a sense of what the team you support stands for.

A lot of lib dems are coming to terms, slowly, with the fact that their team doesn’t stand for what they thought, or doesn’t stand for what it used to – and so maybe it isn’t their team any more.

A lot of lib dems are coming to terms, slowly, with the fact that their team doesn’t stand for what they thought, or doesn’t stand for what it used to – and so maybe it isn’t their team any more.

– there are two responses, either influence from within (which could include publicly berating Clegg) or to get out. In Dixon’s case, as he can no longer influence easily, he is getting an allotment…

Fortunately, the similar dilemma right wing Tory activists are having tends to be about trying to steer their party back on to the course they think is correct; although for many of their voters voting elsewhere is an easy solution. I think the difference between an activist and a voter is that you have significantly more emotional investment in keeping your tribal loyalty, so the decision to change is harder. Unless you are Sean Woodward.

11. margin4error


I would imagine that an activist would find it harder to accept that their team is no longer their team. But remember, we are not talking about the relatively simple scenario in which a labour or tory person thinks their party has drifted too far towards or from the centre or adopted a policy(s) one dislikes. There you have people who are, in simplest form, more or less left, or more or less right. In effect, the enemy remains the other side of that divide.

With the lib dems we are talking about a coalition party in which there are, in effect, two slightly conflicting ideals. There’s the liberal ideal and the social democrat ideal. That makes for a much tougher condition for a social democrat seeing their team join forces with the other side. In this instance it is the social democrats who see Labour and the greens as the same side but not as good as their team (hence they are lib dems not labour or green) – who have seen their party join forces with what they saw as the enemy.

That has a strong emotional impact – and is the reason the lib dems have collapsed in polls. There may be some inertia that has kept some of the left within the lib dems – but their complaining is a reflection of them not understanding the change in the nature of their team taking place – not an influential voice within that team.

Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Stuart Rodger

    Former Libdem councillor blasts Nick Clegg: "he should take a real hard look at what they are doing"

  2. LV Schwarz

    Former Libdem councillor blasts Nick Clegg: "he should take a real hard look at what they are doing"

  3. Mohammad Faisal

    Former Libdem councillor blasts Nick Clegg: "he should take a real hard look at what they are doing"

  4. Jason Brickley

    Libdem cllr tells Clegg – ‘open your eyes’

  5. leftlinks

    Liberal Conspiracy – Libdem cllr tells Clegg – ‘open your eyes’

  6. Janet Graham

    Watch: Libdem cllr blasts Clegg; 'open your eyes'

  7. Andy Birss

    Nick Clegg not even listening to his own party but that Cabinet seat is just so comfortable #ConDemsOut

  8. Noxi

    RT @libcon: Watch: Libdem cllr blasts Clegg; 'open your eyes'

  9. Noxi

    RT @libcon: Watch: Libdem cllr blasts Clegg; 'open your eyes'

  10. James Baker

    RT @libcon: Watch: Libdem cllr blasts Clegg; 'open your eyes'

  11. Malcolm Kennedy

    The last Lib Dem in Sunderland gives it to Clegg right between the eyes

  12. VirtualResistance #Libdem cllr tells Clegg – ‘open your eyes’ @stephen_gilbert

  13. christina sosseh

    Libdem cllr tells Clegg – ‘open your eyes’ | Liberal Conspiracy via @libcon

  14. Edd S.

    Libdem cllr tells Clegg – ‘open your eyes’ | Liberal Conspiracy via @libcon

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.