Thoughts on politics and life from a liberal perspective

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Should Clegg address the Tory conference?

Thanks to Guido for drawing my attention to this on the Smarkets betting market:

Clearly punters think that Clegg is likely to pitch up in Birmingham in October and address the Conservative faithful.

It would be an interesting move that I suspect would not go down well with some Lib Dems. The question is though is it the right thing for him to do? Paul Goodman on Con Home last month suggested it would be and may help to foster Conservative/Lib-Dem links of the type that exist in abundance between Labour/Lib-Dem.

I think it would certainly be a way for Clegg to underline the fact that we are in a new political era. It would be fascinating to see what sort of reception he got. I suspect there would be a fair few Tory cabinet ministers who may also resent the focus Clegg would undoubtedly get were he to do this.

A related question is whether Cameron would deign to address the Lib Dem conference. That would come before the Tory one so Cameron would have a chance to steal Clegg's thunder by cross-dressing first! I wonder if he might just take the opportunity.

I am interested to hear what others think about this. Should Clegg address the Tories and/or should Cameron address the Lib Dems?


NoetiCat said...

Hm, well Simon Hughes seemed up for Cameron popping in for a visit to the Lib Dem conference (when they asked him on Daily Politics yesterday), and it was brought up on Conservative Home before, too...

Not sure it would work, unless it is a joint statement from Nick'n'Dave and for them BOTH to take questions from party members. That I would really find intriguing.

Paul Goodman said...

Yes, he should, Mark - and for what it's worth I made the case for it on Conservative Home on May 25, as NoetiCat acknowledges. See below.

Even if he doesn't, the two Conferences must surely be organised to acknowledge fact: namely, that our two parties are in Coalition, even if many members of both don't like it.

sanbikinoraion said...

I don't think either of them should. We are two different parties and for our own sanity and future electoral prospects we should not be seen to be cosying up to the Tories as a party.

Cardinal Richelieu's mole said...

Yes - it is publicity after all - but more importantly it affords Clegg an opportunity to remind everyone that he stands for something different to the Conservatives (not by much, of course). That message needs to be kept in the public mind or else the Lib Dems risk losing their identity amongst the voters.

The opposite consideration applies to Cameron in him addressing the Lib Dem conference, clearly.

JohnM said...

fraternal greeting to our co-operative partners (sorry couldn't resist that one):-)

Unknown said...

>>it affords Clegg an opportunity to remind everyone that he stands for something different to the Conservatives

Actually, I think that both leaders should address each others conferences, but to highlight the areas where they agree, and to acknowledge the areas where they dont.

The parties in power are working pretty well. It is time to reduce some of the whinging from the supporters from both sides.

It might piss off some at the edges of each party, but this is time for grown up politics, not posturing.

Andrew Hickey said...

GOD no.

It's *absolutely* essential for the party that we preserve a very clear demarcation between the two coalition parties. We have to work with them, but that's all the more reason that in anything that *isn't* pure government business we should make *VERY* clear where we end and they begin, with as little crossover as possible.