Thoughts on politics and life from a liberal perspective

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Death of 75 cuts for Clegg?

I am starting to see reports (e.g. here) that small numbers of Lib Dem local parties have held meetings to decide whether to vote to trigger a leadership election for the party. There have only been 4 so far and only 2 of them have voted to trigger the contest. It will take 75 local parties to vote for a contest before it happens.

I also understand that at least a couple of dozen other local Lib Dem parties have arranged such meetings and will hold them in the near future.

One of the problems is that many local parties are playing their cards close to their chest and the information is only leaking out in dribs and drabs.

At first when I heard parties were organising I thought it unlikely the 75 threshold would be reached and that Clegg is probably safe. However that ignores two factors. Firstly, momentum. If we start to reach say 10 or 15 parties voting for a contest and this becomes widely known this could start to feed upon itself. Local parties who hadn't got round to organising a meeting, perhaps because they thought it wouldn't make any difference might just do so. The media may help feed this too. If they start to see a real chance that significant numbers of parties could vote to effectively oust Clegg they are likely to cover the story in more detail and this could cause a feedback loop as described above spurring the undecided or reluctant to action.

The second point is that 75 parties may not be needed. If the momentum is clearly in that direction and it is becoming clear that lots of local parties are voting for a contest we could see a "men in grey suits" moment for Clegg from his senior colleagues who don't want to see the party further damaged by a "death of 75 cuts".

We have seen how ruthless the Lib Dems can be about their leaders once the writing is on the wall. Just ask Charles Kennedy or Ming Campbell whether they have any doubts about their colleague's ability to wield knives...

1 comment:

paul barker said...

There have been 24 local Party meetings so far of which 8 were full member meetings. 2 out of 8 or 24 sounds a lot less impressive.