We can all agree that the roller-coaster ride that has been the life of Nick Clegg would make for a terrific feature film. However this isn’t a film and it is real life and he has been pilloried by the majority of people. Labelled a traitor and a liar his popularity with the public is not exactly sky high any more. The heady days of April 2010 seems like a different world to what he faces today.
His popularity within his own party isn’t great either. Many old school Lib Dems feel that going into a coalition with the Tories was just plain wrong and many of the new generation believe that not getting our way on the student fees was tant amount to treason. Overseeing an election where we lost MPs despite growing our vote numbers by around a million and pushing through with the Referendum on the voting system when we were being set up to lose has lost him a lot of support.
In July an Ipsos Mori poll for Reuters said that 47% of Lib Dems were satisfied with his performance but a whopping 41% were dissatisfied. In August however these numbers have seen a decided shift. 55% are now satisfied but only 29% are dissatisfied but his approval ratings within his own party have gone up 17% in a month.
So what have we seen in the past month? Mainly the News of the World’s death and if along has changed up to 17% of Lib Dems perception of their leader then I’ll be surprised. Therefore it is more likely that Lib Dems are happy with what he is saying about the civil unrest of earlier this month and how we should be handling the situation.
His ideas that we should use more community punishments instead of just locking people up is huge amongst Lib Dems. I think it is something the vast majority of Lib Dems would agree with. You can’t just give up on people and rehabilitation needs to be given a far higher priority than it is. People don’t feel part of their community and that is something we need to address but ‘The Big Society’ is not the answer. You can’t force a community to come together.
I have no idea what the future holds for Nick Clegg. He’s been much-maligned with the electorate but just as much so – if not more so – amongst the members within his own party. It would have been easy to not go into coalition and sat back and watched the economy go into the tank. He took a very tough decision which may hurt the party long-term but five years is a long time in politics. Things change and if things change for the better for the electorate then the party (and Clegg) can say that they were part of the reason.
The end is not nigh for Clegg but if he is to continue then he needs the strong support of his party and it slowly looks like he may be getting that once again.
Edit: Just for clarification. This question was asked to Lib Dem Voters. Not necessarily Lib Dem Members.
I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please leave any comments or contact me directly via the E-Mail Me link on the Right Hand Nav. You can stay in touch with the blog following me on Twitter or by liking the blog on Facebook. Please share this content via the Social Media links below if you think anyone else would enjoy reading.