Did you know that the last time a liberal politician was in government was 1945. Near enough 70 years. The last time before that, which was the last time we had real influence, was 1922. About 90 years ago.
So why on Earth, would we, as a party, want to get rid of the first leader to take us into government in 70-90 years. We have 75% of our policies in government. We have a veto on the daftest Tory policies, like scrapping the Human Rights Act and trying to pull out of the EU.
Ok, we must be free to admit, we are not hugely popular. We did very badly in the local council elections and far worse in Scotland. Though I think we have been doing a lot better since we started showing our differences to the Tories recently.
We are on about 14% in the polls. True enough, we were on high twenties to thirties going into the general election. However, governing parties often get a slump in the polls. We so often forget what the rumours were at the start of the coalition. No one was accusing us of selling out or being Tories with yellow ties. They were saying it was a stupid thing to do as the coalition wouldn’t last a year because the parties were so different! How times change, eh? It was extremely sensible to make us look as close to the Tories as possible. How many of our policies would we have implemented if the coalition had ended in 6 months due to extreme rumours about fractures at the heart of the coalition? I’m going to bet not 75%.
Recently we have been getting 14% -ish and similar in the polls. 4-5 months ago, April-May time, we were getting around 10-11%. The difference between then and now is that we have started showing our differences to the Tories. The pull-them-tight era has definitely stopped. But we are still not at full throttle. It might not look like it now, but in a couple of years, the party and Nick will focus more on attacking the Tories. Specifically in ways which could gain centrist-KenClarke-Tory votes. Accusing them of wishing to “Tear apart and destroy anything which proclaims human rights” or similar.
Our current new stretch of differentiation came about during the AV referendum. Personal attacks made on Nick and such made us come to the stance we are on now. So in the last 4 months we have pulled ourself up 3-4 points. By 2014-15, I honestly think we could be on 19-20. Especially going into the TV debates. When people listen, they often understand better. We may have lost the novelty of being the fresh, young, new, anti establishment party. But in the next election, being “in government, on your side” and having people listen to us will make people realise we aren’t just Tories. That we can be responsible in government. Nick will show how we stopped the Tories being needlessly authoritarian and right-wing on tax, we will be able to show how we cleared up Labour’s mess. That Ed Miliband is still the backroom boy unable to run a country, who just wants to fiddle away with details. A nice man. But one without policies
That is why the party will not get rid of Nick, we need him. If we get rid of him, divide the party, get someone from the “left” (I dislike such terms) of the party, we will go into the election as a party divided, that doesn’t know what it is, that doesn’t like being in government. So why on earth would it be returned to government?
Nick is the key, we will keep him.