10 key Lib Dem questions for 2008

by Stephen Tall on December 29, 2007

Sky News’s Adam Boulton has posted his rather more worldly ’10 Questions for 2008’ over at his Boulton & Co blog:

A lot will happen that I can’t predict, but working from the known unknowns of next year’s calendar, here are ten questions which I believe will shape politics at home and abroad in 2008.

Forgive Lib Dem Voice for being a little more parochial, and concentrating on the world of Lib Demmery:

1. Will Nick Clegg become as well-known and respected/liked as Paddy and Charles became?

2. Will the party manage to stake out clear and mainstream liberal policy lines while asserting a more edgy approach to politics?

3. Will Brian Paddick’s London mayoral campaign take off?

4. Will May’s local election results show a Lib Dem advance or retreat?

5. How will Nick Clegg fare at Prime Minister’s Questions? (Especially in comparison to Vince Cable.)

6. Will Nicol Stephen’s leadership of the Scottish Lib Dems continue to bounce back?

7. Who will emerge as leader of the Welsh Lib Dems when Mike German stands down?

8. Will the Lib Dems’ consistently poll at or above 20%?

9. Who will succeed Simon Hughes as Lib Dem President?

10. Who will be crowned Lib Dem Blogger of the Year 2008?

And, yes, of course I’ve missed some out: please use the space below to complete…

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No comments

1. I doubt it.
2. I doubt it.
3. Now that is a distinct possibility.
4. It depends on where things stood four years ago. Small advance probably.
5. Not brilliantly. Why don’t we just let Vince carry on with PMQs?
6. I doubt it.
7. Don’t know.
8. Maybe, but 20% is useless. We need to be above 30%.
9. Don’t know.
10. Millennium Elephant

by Laurence Boyce on December 29, 2007 at 5:04 pm. Reply #

A “little more parochial”?

by Gavin Whenman on December 29, 2007 at 5:21 pm. Reply #

“5. How will Nick Clegg fare at Prime Minister’s Questions? (Especially in comparison to Vince Cable.)”

It would make a very profound point if Nick deliberately didn’t do a lot of PMQs and did his town hall meeting stuff instead.

The purpose of PMQs is holding the Prime Minister to account (stop laughing at the back!) – nothing says that all the questioning has to come from opposition party leaders

by Hywel Morgan on December 29, 2007 at 5:55 pm. Reply #

Or how about this;
1/ Will the Liberal Democrats set the political agenda?
2/ Will the party membership level start to increase?
3/ Will Liberal Democrats start to innovate more in local government (instead of being just opportunistic)?

To answer the other questions;
1. Will Nick Clegg become as well-known and respected/liked as Paddy and Charles became?
A good chance.

2. Will the party manage to stake out clear and mainstream liberal policy lines while asserting a more edgy approach to politics?
Well clearly not on replacing Trident, which is a shame because the Greens, SNP and PC will do so at our expense.
On the 2 big issues of the future; global warming and “The war on terror” – currently being played out in Pakistan the Liberal Democrats could potentially make a big contribution.
We could take strong positions on improving public services and addressing the gap between rich and poor.

3. Will Brian Paddick’s London mayoral campaign take off?
Brian Paddick will have the same problems that Simon Hughes had. Potentially he could win a large section of the BME vote.

4. Will May’s local election results show a Lib Dem advance or retreat?
I am hoping that the party nationally is starting to recover, but it is hard in the space of 4 months to target and win new seats on the council. So I do not expect a great deal.

5. How will Nick Clegg fare at Prime Minister’s Questions? (Especially in comparison to Vince Cable.)
I will be surprised if he does well in this, but it doesn’t matter that much.
There may be a case for him not to bother.

6. Will Nicol Stephen’s leadership of the Scottish Lib Dems continue to bounce back?
It is crazy the Lib Dems did not go into coalition with the SNP. The Lib Dems have to rely on the SNP making mistakes which they may given they are inexperienced. But fundamentally there is little difference between them and that gives Nicol Stephen a hard job.

7. Who will emerge as leader of the Welsh Lib Dems when Mike German stands down?
Don’t know.

8. Will the Lib Dems’ consistently poll at or above 20%?
Lets hope so.

9. Who will succeed Simon Hughes as Lib Dem President?
John Smithson

10. Who will be crowned Lib Dem Blogger of the Year 2008?
My vote goes to Jo Hayes

by Geoffrey Payne on December 29, 2007 at 6:23 pm. Reply #

1. I would probably think so
2. Yes
3. probably
4. Far better than last year,
5. He’ll be ace
6. I would guess his career high point is still to come
7. I couldn’t possibly comment
8. Yes
9. Lembit
10. Absolutely no idea whatsoever.

by dominic hannigan on December 29, 2007 at 6:41 pm. Reply #

1. Will Nick Clegg…

It depends… there’s precious little evidence from the Leadership election of what Clegg is planning on selling to the electorate. James G. I think had it right to describe brand-Clegg as a work in progress.

2. Will the party manage to stake out clear and mainstream liberal policy lines while asserting a more edgy approach to politics?

Mainstream and edgy are unlikely to be comfortable companions.

3. Will Brian Paddick’s London mayoral campaign take off?

If Brian does as well as Simon (16%) and we hold our GLA support he will have done well. If he advances it will be a sensation.

4. Will May’s local election results show a Lib Dem advance or retreat?

Impossible to say so early in Clegg’s tenure.

5. How will Nick Clegg fare at Prime Minister’s Questions? (Especially in comparison to Vince Cable.)

We’ll have to wait and see

6. Will Nicol Stephen’s leadership of the Scottish Lib Dems continue to bounce back?

It depends on whether he carves out more of a personality brand or not. There seem to be a lot of politicians in Scotland and precious few personalities bar Salmond.

7. Who will emerge as leader of the Welsh Lib Dems when Mike German stands down?

Kirsty Williams, another question would be whether any of the current crop of AMs can actually make the Welsh Liberal Democrats different or interesting.

8. Will the Lib Dems’ consistently poll at or above 20%?

At the moment the answer to that question depends more on a reverse in Conservatives fortune than anything we do.

9. Who will succeed Simon Hughes as Lib Dem President?

Ros Scott has a good chance of beating Lembit.

10. Who will be crowned Lib Dem Blogger of the Year 2008?

I’d vote for Alix Mortimer at the moment.

by Anonymous on December 29, 2007 at 7:56 pm. Reply #

Geof Payne’s questions are rather more relevant than this pile of relative trivia! But I would not discuss them further here.

Tony Greaves

by Anonymous on December 29, 2007 at 9:01 pm. Reply #

Thanks for your contribution Tony.

by Laurence Boyce on December 29, 2007 at 9:10 pm. Reply #

1. Charles who?

2. er maybe, I’m not sure, I think we should set up a working group?

3. Only if he backs Heathrow’s expansion?

4. depends on how many seats we win?

5. Just let Vince carry on doing PMQs

6. Where’s Scotland?

7. Sian Lloyd

8. Yes in Cornwall

9. John Hemming

10. Iain Dale

by Cheltenham Robin on December 29, 2007 at 9:18 pm. Reply #

1. Will Nick Clegg become as well-known and respected/liked as Paddy and Charles became?

No, and what about Ming?

2. Will the party manage to stake out clear and mainstream liberal policy lines while asserting a more edgy approach to politics?

Depends on whether it gets out of the rut of being suspected by many as being Labour’s reserve by focussing its negative attacks on an unpopular Labour government by creating clear orange water between the party and an authoritarian government.

3. Will Brian Paddick’s London mayoral campaign take off?

Can’t see it happening. Nice guy but not a lightening rod.

4. Will May’s local election results show a Lib Dem advance or retreat?

No change would be the best possible outcome.

5. How will Nick Clegg fare at Prime Minister’s Questions? (Especially in comparison to Vince Cable.)

Time will tell as they say but to be honest I am not hopeful.

6. Will Nicol Stephen’s leadership of the Scottish Lib Dems continue to bounce back?

I fear that he’s dug his and the party’s grave over that one. The local press are gunning for him – here and here.

7. Who will emerge as leader of the Welsh Lib Dems when Mike German stands down?

Peter Black.

8. Will the Lib Dems’ consistently poll at or above 20%?

I fear 2005 was a high point and it will take some years for us to reach such a consistent figure again. I also fear we may have blown a great chance by building on that support.

9. Who will succeed Simon Hughes as Lib Dem President?

Charles Kennedy.

10. Who will be crowned Lib Dem Blogger of the Year 2008?

James Graham

by Richard Davies on December 29, 2007 at 10:46 pm. Reply #

1. No

2. Ahahahahahahahahahahaha no!

3. Maybe, but he hasn’t a cat in hell’s chance of winning. Shame, because I like him.

4. A bit of both, I think.

5. Badly. I foresee much waffling and going red and stumbling over words and looking endearingly like Hugh Grant

6. No idea

7. No idea

8. In 2008? No chance.

9. Ros Scott

10. If there’s any justice, Alix Mortimer. That’ll be James Graham, then.

by Jennie on December 30, 2007 at 1:40 am. Reply #

1. Will Nick Clegg become as well-known and respected/liked as Paddy and Charles became?

Erm, not sure about the word ‘became’ here – from Paddy Ashdown’s diaries and Charles Kennedy’s biography not sure if they were ever liked/respected by the end of their reign as leader.

I have high hopes for Nick and therefore want him to be both liked and respected in a very different way. It will take a truly talented special individual to lead our party in the way it desperately needs to be led.

2. Will the party manage to stake out clear and mainstream liberal policy lines while asserting a more edgy approach to politics?

Not sure what you mean by ‘edgy approach’! I think we’re already doing this?

3. Will Brian Paddick’s London mayoral campaign take off?

Erm, shall I be idealistic or realistic? Yes.

4. Will May’s local election results show a Lib Dem advance or retreat?

Why an advance, of course.

5. How will Nick Clegg fare at Prime Minister’s Questions? (Especially in comparison to Vince Cable.)

This is why I didn’t like everyone gushing over Cable. Clegg shouldn’t be compared with Cable – he is a completely different politician with his own style, ambition and brand…

Very well probably…

6. Will Nicol Stephen’s leadership of the Scottish Lib Dems continue to bounce back?

Not sure.

7. Who will emerge as leader of the Welsh Lib Dems when Mike German stands down?

Not sure!

8. Will the Lib Dems’ consistently poll at or above 20%?

Why of course!

9. Who will succeed Simon Hughes as Lib Dem President?

Steve Webb?

10. Who will be crowned Lib Dem Blogger of the Year 2008?

Going purely on the golden dozen at the moment, Paul Walter, Nich Starling or James Graham. James seems to be very good with the media so a safe pair of hands?

by Jo A on December 30, 2007 at 10:04 am. Reply #

1. Will Nick Clegg become as well-known and respected/liked as Paddy and Charles became?

I hope so, but he needs to do better than them, we need to break out of the 20% mark – without forgetting that we are Liberal DEMOCRATS not liberals.

2. Will the party manage to stake out clear and mainstream liberal policy lines while asserting a more edgy approach to politics?

Not whilst his grasp of policy remains so weak. If this improves and he doesn’t schism the party by setting out a neo-liberal economic policy position then we might be alright.

3. Will Brian Paddick’s London mayoral campaign take off?

No – Ken will win hands down

4. Will May’s local election results show a Lib Dem advance or retreat?

A marginal recovery in our key/target seats combined with further collapse elsewhere – thanks in part to the communications allowance and continuation of the target seat strategy – which despite its success has some significant flaws in terms of nationwide strength.

5. How will Nick Clegg fare at Prime Minister’s Questions? (Especially in comparison to Vince Cable.)

Better than Brown, but being remarkably similar in style to Cameron will not help since he gets his question(s) afterwards – but thats what people voted for (for some reason)

6. Will Nicol Stephen’s leadership of the Scottish Lib Dems continue to bounce back?
Not qualified to answer on scottish politics

7. Who will emerge as leader of the Welsh Lib Dems when Mike German stands down?
Who knows

8. Will the Lib Dems’ consistently poll at or above 20%?
So far there has been a complete absense of a Clegg bounce – his dismally poor campaign did not help and he should take note of Huhne & co’s media managment skills. Hopefully with some lessons learned we can start climbing towards the mid 20s again.

9. Who will succeed Simon Hughes as Lib Dem President?
Someone who remains impartial in leadership competitions whilst president of the party!

10. Who will be crowned Lib Dem Blogger of the Year 2008?
Don’t really care

And, yes, of course I’ve missed some out: please use the space below to complete…

by A on December 30, 2007 at 2:02 pm. Reply #

Yes well done to Anna and Team Huhne! ;@)

by Jo A on December 30, 2007 at 3:57 pm. Reply #

Well mostly no’s. # 6 – will Nicol Stephen continue to bounce back is now outdated. The articlr on which this alleged bounce is predicated is all about his accusing Salmond of some unspecified wrongdoing in trying to get Trump to invest £1 billion in Scotland. Since not only is no wrongdoing apparent but all the other leaders, including not only Nicol but even the LibDem councillors who tried to stop the development, have all, seeing how popular opinion is, said how much they support the investment too.

If his constituents decide to hold him & the party to account for their former opposition he well find himself bouncing into another career.

This would be reasonable of them since his contempt for the electorate extended to getting up on TV & saying his party opposes nuclear power precisely because it would work & thus the electorate would refuse to pour billions of subsidy into windmills. While this is true it was very unwise to say it.

by Neil Craig on December 30, 2007 at 4:41 pm. Reply #

1. Will Nick Clegg become as well-known and respected/liked as Paddy and Charles became?

erm – no. Get real. Paddy Ashdown was able to give the purring “I was a real soldier” image while putting his point across in a fairly reasonable way, Kennedy was everybody’s best mate, the kind of guy I’d have a pint with and the kind of guy my mother thought was just right to restore politics. Clegg doesn’t have it – neither did Campbell right enough.

2. Will the party manage to stake out clear and mainstream liberal policy lines while asserting a more edgy approach to politics?

You’d have to find liberal policies first. You’re a right wing party with a load of members who want you to be liberal – it would be good for England if you could try it. Scotland and Wales already have parties with truly liberal traditions.

3. Will Brian Paddick’s London mayoral campaign take off?

No – classic squeeze coming your way and you have no way of getting out of it.

4. Will May’s local election results show a Lib Dem advance or retreat?

Sound thrashing I think. You strayed from the stuff most of you believed in for the sake of votes. Now that there’s a serious contest between Labour and Conservatives that lack of substance will tell.

5. How will Nick Clegg fare at Prime Minister’s Questions? (Especially in comparison to Vince Cable.)

Be serious – Vince Cable wasn’t very good, he got liberties because he was a stand-in. Clegg will just fill in for a few years until you lot can find another Kennedy (or an Ashdown, I suppose).

6. Will Nicol Stephen’s leadership of the Scottish Lib Dems continue to bounce back?

I assume you aren’t involved in Scottish politics. Nicol is the walking personification of a busted flush. Tavish may be an idea if he can sort out his keich.

7. Who will emerge as leader of the Welsh Lib Dems when Mike German stands down?

Lembit Opik?

8. Will the Lib Dems’ consistently poll at or above 20%?

Nope. Getting squeezed old chum, gonna be sore, best batten down the hatches and prepare for a rough riding.

9. Who will succeed Simon Hughes as Lib Dem President?

Well, you could do a hell of a lot worse than asking Charlie Kennedy – at least he’s a real politician.

10. Who will be crowned Lib Dem Blogger of the Year 2008?

Feck – looking at the Lib Dems and your general performance, it might be me.

May you discover real politics soon!

by Calum Cashley on December 31, 2007 at 1:18 am. Reply #

Calum, you talk about “real politics” – presumably that’s why you spend your time reading our blogs, and bl**dy hell, even spending time replying to them! Given the fact that I doubt Boris appeals to the Tory grass roots and more than Ken does I’m interested to hear why you think the usual squeeze will apply.

“You’re a right wing party with a load of members who want you to be liberal”.

Given that we actually let members make policy unlike the other “big two”, I’m not sure about this. I can think of a number of policy positions that set us out as non-right wing. Where’s your evidence that suggests we’re a right-wing party?

by Grammar Police on December 31, 2007 at 9:08 am. Reply #

Er “*any* more than Ken does”. D’oh.

by Grammar Police on December 31, 2007 at 9:09 am. Reply #

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