UK & World News
Clegg Blasted By Lib Dem Voter On Phone-In
A former Lib Dem councillor has confronted Nick Clegg on live radio to say he ditched the party because he is so ashamed of their performance in Government.
The Deputy Prime Minister was taking part in the first of his weekly phone-in shows, in a new drive to reconnect with voters as his party's popularity tumbles.
One caller named John, from Woking, provided a snapshot of the bitter feeling in the party's grassroots over policies taken up by the coalition.
Furious about welfare cuts, he told Mr Clegg during the LBC show: "I'm a Liberal Democrat who has just torn up his membership card.
"I joined in 1973 and I'm afraid I can't now say I want to represent the Liberal Democrats. I'm an ex-county councillor in Surrey and I am ashamed of what the party's doing."
The Deputy PM was forced to listen as the caller read out the pledges on the card, which include building a "fair, free and open society" in which no-one is "enslaved by poverty".
John challenged Mr Clegg to explain how he could reconcile the party's principles with "this Government's attacks on the poorest in society".
The politician asked him to give the party credit for measures like raising the income tax threshold and introducing a pupil premium for children from poor backgrounds.
He insisted he was "immensely proud" that the Lib Dems had taken the "brave" decision to enter a partnership with the Tories, but admitted it had been at "some political cost".
Another caller, student Lauren Archer, dismissed measures like the pupil premium as "tokenistic" and accused the Government of discouraging people from gaining qualifications.
She pointed out moves to abolish the education maintenance allowance and the increase in tuition fees, which was against a specific Lib Dem pledge.
"It seems as if the coalition is trying to tell them that higher education is not for them," she said.
Mr Clegg repeated his apology for the U-turn on fees, admitting they had made a promise they were not in a position to deliver on.
But he said it was always going to be "monumentally controversial" to go into coalition with any party and claimed voters were more understanding once actions are explained.
Giving a hint at why he signed up for the radio show, he said: "Where we can get on to people's doorstep or in front of a radio mike and explain to people what we are doing, why we are sticking to our guns on some of the big decisions, why the country has to go through this difficult process,
"I'm finding that people - perhaps not with bunting and wild-eyed enthusiasm - recognise that what we are doing is the right thing.
"What I'm trying to do is build a strong economy and a fair society."
In a wide-ranging half-hour of questions, Mr Clegg was also challenged over benefit cuts, international aid and job losses in the military.
He said he thought it was right for US President Barack Obama to signal that Washington wants Britain to remain a strong voice in Europe.
And he revealed that the Conservative Cabinet minister he would most like to go out for a drink with is Ken Clarke.
The most bizarre question was saved until last, when Harry, from Sheffield, asked him if he had ever worn a onesie - an all-in-one 'babygro' for adults.
A laughing Mr Clegg answered: "I was actually given a big green onesie in Sheffield, which I have kept in its packaging, but I haven't worn it yet."
Asked by host Nick Ferrari whether he would be willing to don the item in public for charity, he replied: "It's almost certainly something I would do in the privacy of my own home."
Labour frontbencher Angela Eagle described listening to the show as "half an hour of my life I will never get back".
The shadow Commons leader accused Mr Clegg of refusing to take part in a show in his constituency, claiming he was "hiding from the people of Sheffield".
what do you think?
d and d Phillips
Rear you political history of Britain 1910 on wards all the skullduggery by Tory/Liberal/Labour it is a mirror of today's politics, were most elected MP`s self interest came first.Nothing changed until the working people organised into Unions including Unions for the unemployed .1945 The fruits of their efforts they elected the first socialist Labour Government with all the benefits N.H.S. Pensions ,welfare and full employment.Since them the establishment has watered down and infiltrated the Unions and the Labour Party ,replaced by men/women of straw.
1910 ? Isn`t that the year that MPs first drew salaries and expences ?
If mp's didn't get a salarie only the priveledged could afford to stand. Salaries should be reduced and expenses tightened up though.
" I`m afraid I can`t say now that I want to represent the Liberal Democrats " That sums up what is wrong with party politics not just in this country but probably the World over.Members of Parliament or Councillors are supposed to represent their constituents not the Party of which they are a member.
very good point
pj all we have to do now is convince the MPs and Councillors - been telling my local LibDem MP since the last election and each time I get a letter back how good they are and how good Clegg is
Agree with you below. These jumped up jobsworths think we want them to represent a party. I'm interested in the people who put them in there. Not some 'jolly' good time beer drinking louts. Spending our taxes on frivilous tripe.
I call nick zippy and Dave bungle its what they are zippy and bungle
zippy and bungle were very popular. They lasted for years. I assume then, as you call them those names, that you are a supporter.
It was a joke some people on here have no humour your not German are you
Zippy and Bungle were puppets, controlled by other people and did nothing to help the people of this country. Jeffrey ended up on the taxis.
Nick, there's only one Zippy, and that's Cherie Blair ;)
Nick it would be nice if people rather than giving thumbs down made a comment - I enjoyed your joke. Jasmine how could you say that about Cherie shame on you ;-)
It was a joke some people on here have no humour your not German are you
I dispute that Chris, my daughter loved them, they cheered her up when she wasn't well. Nothing wrong with being a taxi driver, my bro done it for years.
I thought YOU were the one with a sense of humour, Blimey. Yes, they amused my daughter - when she was three! Nothing wrong with taxi driving but a bit of a climbdown from such an 'amusing' albeit well-paid children's presenter. Maybe he was happy?
On a 'phone in' you will become a target for the disgruntled. Hardly anyone will make an effort to just to say 'Ok'. Our years of 'see saw politics is crazy. The only job of the 'opposition' is to trip up and bring down the government, ie prevent anything usefull being done as much as possible. I don't want to be 'ruled' by trade union power, religion, mad greens, aristos, fascists or nationalists. I suppose in an imperfect way the system we have does work! Compared to a 'politburo' at least here corruption is exposed. I don't want single party dominance.
You have a single party rule run by the rich Gangsters.
Clegg knows his libdem future is terminal as there is no way the rank and file will want him as their leader at the next election, and he will be as welcome in Sheffield as the German bombers were in the Sheffield blitz . Radio programs will only alienate him more with the general public as almost every one accepts the fact that he went into Coalition was to get the only chance he would ever get to get into government. It's a pity the radio show wasn't form radio Hallam or Sheffield, but thsi shows what a coward he is.
Well, all I can say is Nick Clegg is either brave or stupid to open himself to such public ridicule as a live phone-in show. Probably a bit of both to be honest.
From what I understand, these so called live phone-ins are totally controlled. I rather think that Clegg knew the questions that were going to be asked. It would be better if all politicians got into the real world and actually listened to the public instead of trying to gain "Brownie" points off each other.Its an old, old story but about time we were listened to.
Was this not the party that was described as 'the party that likes to say Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm ' and he got a tanking in the live debates prior to the General Election for his ideas
i am all for giving aid to poorer and desperate people..but surely a country needs to solve its own problems like more housing,fixed roads,homeless, ill and disabled etcetra BEFORE giving out huge briefcases of cash to who knows who ? need a tv documentary like panorama to explain in detail where this cash goes to and how effective it is.
Kelly have a pal who spoke with a senior sales exec from a supplier of corporate jets - seems they have a big market in Africa. Need I say more?
Quite right, charity begins at home...............
How utterly desperate is Clegg? And rightly so! He sold his party and ultimately the country down the river for a tiny bit of power in am ultimately pointless job. Now he realises the Fib-Dems are going to be smashed at the election box and they may never recover from it.
Clegg knows he's almost certainly done as a LibDem, he's now laying the foundations either for a safe Tory seat at the next general elections, or, e seat in the house of lords.
'It's almost certainly something I would do in the privacy of my own home'. That's almost nearly not quite a straight forward answer to a straight forward question. Unfortunately typical of today's politicians. Getting a 'Yes' or 'No' answer from them is like drawing teeth.
Joining in with the Tories signed the Lib Dem's death certificate.
bye bye clegg
At least he has the guts to do this radio program. If Milliband did the show there would be long embarrassing silences since he and the Labout party do not have a single policy on any subject.
I think Ed would have had all liebour supporters vetted so he would not get any awkward questions.
"One caller named John, from Woking, provided a snapshot of the bitter feeling in the party's grassroots over policies taken up by the coalition." "Furious about welfare cuts, he told Mr Clegg during the LBC show: "I'm a Liberal Democrat who has just torn up his membership card." "I joined in 1973 and I'm afraid I can't now say I want to represent the Liberal Democrats. I'm an ex-county councillor in Surrey and I am ashamed of what the party's doing." He joined a party in 1973 that was formed in 1988.............liebour stooge !
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