'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

Thursday 24 February 2011

Nick Clegg bashing by the Press is getting ludicrous now.

I blogged the other day about the loss of jobs in the hospitals at St. Georges, Tooting and Kingston, wondering if this was the Tory's 'tuition fees' moment?

After all - David Cameron personally pledged not to do this.

And the lead on all the NHS reforms is a Tory, Andrew Lansley.

So this is going to be hung around their necks, isn't it...isn't it?

Guess which photo the Guardian ran to accompany the follow up story

This one.

Underneath they ran the words 'Nick Clegg, the deputy prime minister, talks to nurses in the maternity unit at Kingston Hospital. Last week, the hospital cut 500 jobs'.

Now, I have railed against the perils of 'too much' collective rsponsibility before. But now it seems collective responsibility - when its Nick Clegg - is being thrust upon us.

And today - it gets worse: Nick made a throwaway joke while away on a break about forgetting he was in charge. And what happens? Metro goes to town on it with this

"Nick Clegg 'forgot' he was in charge while David Cameron was away

Nick Clegg has admitted ‘forgetting’ he was running the country while David Cameron visited the Middle East this week."

As if that is any way credible. The only real joke here is the story.

However it does go to underline that the press is basically just now out to get Nick. In recent weeks he's put forward the Freedom Bill, led legislation on mental health, won the battle to get the AV referendum bill through...but Metro refers to the ridiculous story that he is 'putting his feet up (a story beautifully demolished by Olly Grender the other week).

While many in the party still struggle over the tuition fees issue - I'm one of them - if we are to make progress on all the great things we are doing, we have to win the trust back. Not just from people, but also, clearly, from the press. If we can make them love Nick again, we'll know we're on track.


Good piece from Charlotte at Virtually Naked on Peter Hain actually - unbelievably - giving a response on the Metro story. Dignifying this sort of reporting really should be beneath him


  1. I think the Metro article is fair reporting, it shows Nick still has his good sense of humour, and is good publicity for him and for the Liberal Democrats. I agree generally about the press giving Nick a hard time, and Peter Brookes (The Times cartoonist) should realise that a joke can wear a bit thin after a while.

  2. The press love to sensationalise things. The Labour party are going after Lib Dem votes in the lead up to the May elections.

    We only have to go back to the election period to see how Nick Clegg was "the most popular party leader since Winston Churchill" to "I must be the only politician who has gone from being Churchill to being a Nazi in under a week".

    However, what's going on nationally will affect the local election results in May for the Lib Dems. Controversy sells papers but the general population wouldn't know what Lib Dem achievements are in government. The general public are just being told by Labour that Lib Dems are another type of Tory.

  3. I agree that there's no doubt Labour are after us with a vengeance, and also that we haven't done nearly enough to 'own' our own policies in government.

    But I also think there's now a default 'bash Clegg' narrative in the press because its easy copy. We need to change the story again. But winning back trust is a very hard thing to do and is going to take a bucket load of work.