No FT, no comment? Not for me…

by Stephen Tall on September 2, 2010

I’ve been quoted twice, in successive days, by the Financial Times – a career highlight I can’t allow to pass un-self-hyped.

Yesterday, the FT covered the publication this week on Lib Dem Voice of the results of our members’ survey, which was completed by almost 600 Lib Dem members. Under the surprisingly accurate/straight headline, Lib Dem members give poll boost to Clegg — you can tell this was the FT: any other paper would have searched its damnedest to pick out a negative slant — both Mark Pack and myself are quoted:

Nick Clegg and his fellow senior Liberal Democrats have been given a timely boost ahead of a potentially fractious party conference by the results of a survey showing that support for Mr Clegg among party members remains high. …

Just over half thought the government was implementing a significant part of the Lib Dem manifesto but they worried that the leadership was not being forthright enough about its successes. Four out of five of those polled believed that the biggest immediate danger for the party was failing to communicate how Lib Dem policies were making a difference in the government.

Stephen Tall, co-editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, called it a “warning sign” for the party leadership. He said: “The message from Lib Dem members seems clear. They support the coalition, but want to see Nick Clegg and his fellow ministers trumpeting those achievements which are the result of the Lib Dems being in government.”

He called on the party to be more willing to criticise its Tory partners, saying the leadership needed to be “more upfront about where we continue to disagree with the Conservatives”.

And then today, I find myself quoted again, this time in the context of Tony Blair’s memoirs which I pre-reviewed yesterday.

The article, Literary establishment scorns ‘trite’ style, looks at how Mr Blair’s prose has been judged — which seems to me to be rather a secondary consideration in a political memoir:

There was even some support from his traditional political opponents, some of whom praised his authentic style. Stephen Tall, co-editor of the Liberal Democrat Voice website, said: “The book – like it or loathe it – is very clearly Tony Blair’s own work. As a result there are some jaw-droppingly clunking phrases . . . but, ultimately, so what?”

I’m not 100% sure that sound-bite snippet quite captures me at my eloquent best. But, hey, my name’s in print in the FT… so, erm, so what?