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Channel 4 Political Slot: The Green Party

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Metro event with Nick Clegg

I have to say that I enjoyed last night’s event with Nick Clegg at the Associated Newspapers head office in High Street Kensington.

I found Nick Clegg likeable and personable, even if some of his mannerisms were a bit animated. It was certainly clear that he was at home speaking in front of 70 odd people in a small lecture-type room (he did have a previous life as a university lecturer). It’s hard to imagine Nick Clegg thumping away at a rally in Trafalgar Square, nor does he feel particularly comfortable with the formalities and traditions of Westminster politics, as he told the audience last night (he’s a call me “Nick” or “Mr. Clegg” kind of bloke).

I managed to squeeze in two questions. One, very early on, asking Nick Clegg to comment on the irony that the Lib Dems receive far less popular support in PR elections than at elections fought under FPTP. Nick dodged this by focussing specifically on the European Elections, to which he blamed the distance and lack of affinity voters have with Europe. This was of course a very reasonable answer but unsatisfactory.

My other question, which came later in the evening, was actually the last question Nick Clegg answered. We naturally came to the issue of a hung parliament and which way the Lib Dems would swing. Nick answered this as he always does: “We will go with the mandate of the people.” (Apparently voters have to tell Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems what they want before the Lib Dems will ever do anything). As things were about to come to an end, I spoke up, I asked Nick Clegg to clarify on what he means by “mandate of the people.” I quizzed him on what the mandate will look like, will it be that party which wins the most number of seats (potentially Labour), or the party that wins the greatest share of the popular vote (probably the Tories). Nick gave a very roundabout answer and didn’t really address my point, he brushed this off as an unlikely and once again made reference to the “mandate of the people.” I was left unsatisfied by Nick Clegg’s response.

But, even if Nick Clegg thought my point was a very unlikely situation, it will be a disaster for the Lib Dems. No wonder Nick Clegg didn’t want to answer it, what will they actually do? For a party that holds proportional representation so dear to their hearts, a situation that sees Labour win the most seats, but the Tories take the popular vote, will be a conundrum of epic proportions. The truth is that the Lib Dems will be far more likely to see much of their agenda implemented by a sympathetic Labour Government, of which many Lib Dems were once fellow travellers in the same party, however, because of the Lib Dems faith in PR, can they really go through with this?

The period after the General Election, if resulting in the situation I’ve described, could be the most delicate time in the Liberal Democrats political lives, if they swing the wrong way, they could see themselves annihilated at the polls, thus setting the party back a whole generation. This, I believe, is Nick Clegg’s greatest fear. It is no wonder that he will be trying to tell voters to vote for one of the main two parties, to ensure that the Lib Dems don’t end up in the kind of situation that I’ve described.

What Nick Clegg is after is a clear mandate from voters about the Government they want, be it Labour or, regretfully, the Conservatives. A hung parliament is Nick Clegg’s worse nightmare.

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A Minority Pastime

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The Best of Malcolm Tucker Part I

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Patrick Stewart on violence against women

I’m sure most people will agree, Patrick Stewart, AKA Captain Jean-Luc Picard, is a man I could listen to for hours. Here’s Jean-Luc, I mean Patrick, on the violence against women campaign.

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Quizzing Nick Clegg

Tonight, I am attending a Question and Answer session with Nick Clegg MP, Liberal Democrat leader. It’s taking place at the Associated Newspapers head office and is being hosted by the Metro newspaper. Myself and 80 others have been selected to give Nick Clegg a rigorous interview (imagine 79 Jeremy Paxman’s and one Piers Morgan- me!)

So, I am putting it to you, esteemed readers, to tell me any burning questions you may have for Cleggy and I will be happy to ask the best ones. All I ask is that you keep them sensible, to the point and decent. They can be as challenging or as partisan as you want, but I will be sure to take with me the best ones.


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Sussex occupation video

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Tories bully Brighton charity

Third Sector have a very interesting story about a recent decision by Tory councilors not to renew a billboard license for Brighton-based charity, Community Base.

The article reads:

“Nasty, politically motivated decision,” says director of Community Base

A local charity has accused Conservative members of Brighton and Hove City Council of making a “nasty, politically motivated decision” about an advertising billboard.

Community Base, which runs a community building in central Brighton that houses 26 other charities, has had permission since 2004 to display adverts on the side of the building.

The billboard earns the charity about £20,000 a year, but permission was not renewed at a recent meeting of the council’s planning committee.

Colin Chalmers, director of Community Base, said Tory councillors had complained about a recent Green Party advert on the billboard.

“Every other councillor supported us,” he said. “But the Conservatives voted against us in unison.

“They didn’t like the idea that we had allowed other political parties to advertise. This was a nasty, politically motivated decision that will cause real and unnecessary financial hardship.”

A council spokeswoman said the advert did not meet planning rules because of its size and location on the main street outside Brighton station.

Pretty shameful.

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Truths or untruths?

Over at UK Polling Report [UKPR], on the Brighton Pavilion thread, a regular poster, Richard S, has this to say about Charlotte Vere, the Tory candidate for Brighton Pavilion:

According to your [UKPR] Biographical information about The Conservative PPC Charlotte Vere, she is CEO of Big White Wall.
On 11th Jan, 2010, Jenny Hyatt, Founder and CEO, Big White Wall Ltd wrote the following post to ‘The Independent’  CEO, ‘Please note that Charlotte Vere is not the CEO of Big White Wall Ltd – she resigned from the company last Spring.’
When updating the Biographical information on Charlotte Vere, it might be worth adding that she spent much of her career working as an Investment Banker.

It seems Richard S is referring to a comment half way down this article on the Indy’s website. Whilst I have not found any information about Ms. Vere’s possible working life as an investment banker, and the  information coming from someone signing the post as ‘Jenny Hyatt’ is difficult to corroborate, I’m hoping Ms.Vere can set the record straight and shed some light on this matter.

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A little known fact…

…New Labour’s candidate in Brighton Pavilion, Nancy Platts, was a candidate for the Streatham Hill ward in the Lambeth Borough elections in May, 2006. She came sixth out of thirteen candidates.

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