LibDems get a Sixth Sense

March 4, 2011 at 9:08 am Leave a comment

So, the LibDems fall to sixth in the Barnsley by-election. It must be quite a sinking feeling for Nick Clegg this morning.

The general media buzz (and most of the vox pops it has to be said) is that the LibDems are a washed up force. That’s far from certain.

If there is a lesson from the Blair years in terms of media manipulation, it’s surely that there was too short term a focus on tomorrow’s media headlines. If Clegg and his team are worried by the outlook today, they should remain firmly fixed on the long term horizon.

4th March 2011 newspaper stories will mean nothing come May 2015. The LibDem test will be on whether the deficit has been filled in (at least in part) alongside a return to reasonable economic growth. Add in some very liberal social policies and some political/constitutional reforms and the exaggerated claims of the party’s death will be in the newspaper archives.

It won’t be quite that simple of course. As developments in North Africa/Middle East underline, it’s events “dear boy” that do for most politicians. Just ask the former French Foreign Minister. Clegg and co will be less tested on tuition fees and budget deficits than they will be on how they respond to crisis and unforeseen events.

For anxious Lib Dems today, keep your eyes on the long term prize (oh and improve the media performances of your Cabinet Ministers…Clegg, Cable & Alexander are not doing themselves or you any great favours on the TV and radio right now).


Entry filed under: News.

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