And so the media conference meme – Lib Dem leadership faces revolt – begins…

by Stephen Tall on September 4, 2010

The Independent this morning reports:

Nick Clegg is facing a growing grassroots revolt as Liberal Democrat councillors quit the party in protest at the decision to form the Coalition with the Conservatives.

This follows the news that three Lib Dem councillors in Cheshire have resigned, apparently in protest at the cuts being introduced by the Coalition Government.

This brings to a grand total of eight (8) councillors who have defected from the Lib Dems since the special conference in Birmingham, where activists voted by an overwhelming margin to approve the Coalition deal. Or to put it another way, 99.8% of the 3,900 Lib Dem councillors across the UK have chosen not to defect, even though the party has embarked upon an incredibly risky venture, one it knows may cost it votes and seats at the next election.

The paper quotes the Lib Dems issuing a staunch response:

Although about 600 members have left since the general election, the party says another 4,500 people have joined. The Liberal Democrats now have about 65,000 members.

The Indy also cites the Lib Dem Voice survey this week showing that 84% of party members we surveyed continue to support the Coalition, exactly the same as supported it in July.

But it’s clear the story journalists will seek to run at every opportunity for the next fortnight: SPLITS! TENSION! REVOLT! SPLITS! This is just a foretaste. We have been warned… just ask Will Howells, who tweeted this overheard comment from a political hack recently:

The news media’s stories are filed, the conference is merely a formality.