Michael White on Nick Clegg’s leadership

by Stephen Tall on August 8, 2008

The Guardian’s senior political commentator examines the party’s fortunes in today’s online political briefing. It makes interesting reading:

Nick Clegg has issued a reader-friendly pre-conference document, Make It Happen, which will be discussed at his party conference in Bournemouth from September 13-17. If endorsed, it will mark the first Lib Dem shift towards a lower overall tax burden for many years. It will not be straightforward.

But who is listening at a time when the government’s troubles seem terminal, when the resurgent Conservatives, around 20% ahead of Labour in polls, look set to sweep all before them without a hung parliament scenario? … Clegg remains optimistic that his party can hold most of the gains – local and national – it accumulated during the Ashdown-Kennedy years, offsetting southern losses to the Tories with “low-hanging fruit” – Labour marginals captured elsewhere.

And it seems Mr White is an occasional LDV reader:

An activist poll by Lib Dem Voice finds two in three satisfied with his leadership.

(Though it’s only fair to note that the right-wing Spectator Coffee House blog has also noticed today’s survey findings:

today there’s another poll which will dismay Team Clegg. Lib Dem Voice asked party members to rate the performances of the Lib Dem front-bench team during August. Clegg came out a disappointing fourth; behind Vince Cable, Norman Baker, and – perhaps most significantly – his former rival for the party leadership, Chris Huhne. But we haven’t yet heard of any movements against Clegg from within the Lib Dem ranks. I wonder whether that will change soon.”)