'Oh, so that's who Richard Morris is..." Lord Hattersley on The Daily Politics

'An influential activist' - The Guardian

'Iain Dale, without the self loathing' - Matthew Fox in The New Statesman

You are a tinker...' - Tim Farron

Monday, 27 June 2011

Surely they hate us for our own self, not on behalf of anyone else?

In Andrews Rawnsley's excellent analysis of the coalitions lack of support in the North, there was one stand out point right at the end that gave me serious pause for thought. It was this:

'Nick Clegg has confided to friends that he was slow to realise how much visceral hostility towards the Tories there was in the north, nor had he foreseen how it would be displaced on to his own party through guilt by association.'

What, really?

Andrew Rawnsley is extremely well connected so I presume one of Nick's, ahem, 'friends', has decided to brief this to a journalist.

Now, I'm sure there are wheels within wheels spinning here, as you'd have to have had your head in a bucket for the last 32 years to not have realised that the Tories are about as popular in the North as a Spurs fan at the Arsenal AGM. It's such a nonsense you can't worry too long about that.

No, it's the second part that worries me. The part that implies we're only unpopular because of association with the Tories.

I hope the leadership aren't convincing themselves of that. Sure lots of Labour supporters who voted tactically for us to keep the Tories out are still livid. But that's not the real problem.

We have to accept that people are mad with us for things we've done. Most of all, tuition fees. And their problem, funnily enough isn't with tuition fees per se ( although they are not exactly popular). It's that they think we were dishonest. And that's why they hate us. And that's the thing we have to put right.

I am reminded me of an acceptance speech I saw Spike Milligan give once for a Lifetime Achievement Award. 'I'd like to thank all the people who helped me, so I could win this award', he intoned, paused, and then added 'but the truth is I did it all on my own'.


A divorce from the Tories won't solve anything. It's our own fault we have the reputation we do, and it's for us to sort out.

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