Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the Liberal Democrat Party Nick Clegg will today use his speech to the Liberal Democrat conference to lash out at anti-establishment figures such as UKIP’s Nigel Farage and SNP former leader Alex Salmond, alongside attempting to re-establish the LibDems as Britain’s protest party.
Bemusingly, the Deputy Prime Minister of the past four years will tell Liberal Democrat conference that he is now more anti-establishment than ever, despite living at the grace and favour of it for the period over the last parliament. He will begin his speech by claiming that ISIS has united Britain, and will go on to invoke the words of pub landlord comedian Al Murray with reference to the Scottish Referendum.
Then, Clegg is expected to lash out at Nigel Farage and UKIP, who are due to obtain their first elected Member of Parliament in tomorrow’s by-election in Clacton. He will say:
“…something very un-British is taking root in our politics. A growing movement of people who want to pull us apart. Salmond, Farage, the bitter tribalism of left and right – in their different ways they’re all doing the same thing. A growing pick-a-side politics, in a world of us-versus-them. Worried about your job? Your business? Your children’s future? Your way of life? No matter, just blame Europe/Brussels/foreigners/immigrants/the English/the South/professional politicians/Westminster/big business/anybody claiming benefits/ even onshore wind farms…
“…Life is so simple when you know who – or what – to blame. It’s seductive and it’s beguiling. That much may even be proved tomorrow, if the people of Clacton give the UK Independence Party an MP. But resentment, the politics of fear, doesn’t pay the bills or create a single job. Claiming to address people’s acute anxiety about the modern world, it provides nothing but the false comfort of grievance. Dressed up as the politics of hope, it is in fact a counsel of despair.
“Why do you think I took on Nigel Farage in the TV debates at the European elections? Because I thought it would be easy? – me defending Britain’s membership of the EU, him bashing Brussels. No, I did it for the same reason this party must now come out fighting: Because someone has to stand up for the liberal Britain in which we and millions of decent, reasonable people believe. For tolerance, compassion, openness, unity – the values this party holds so dear.”
After this, Clegg will turn his ire onto the Conservative Party and Labour, and despite being expected to lose most of his Members of Parliament in next year’s general election, will claim that the Liberal Democrats, if in government, would “borrow less than Labour, but we’ll cut less than the Tories”.
The speech, seen by Breitbart London, lends a strong focus on re-establishing the Liberal Democrats’ credentials as the anti-Westminster party – a position which is now more or less occupied by UKIP in England, and the Scottish National Party in Scotland.
He is expected to say:
“I may no longer be the fresh faced outsider…But we still stand for a different kind of politics. Treating people like adults. Not shirking the difficult dilemmas this country faces, but confronting them head on. Not pretending there’s a magic wand answer to every problem when there isn’t. Not doing things just because they’re popular. Not being afraid to court controversy when we have to stand up for something we believe. Trying, every day, to do what lies at the heart of politics at its best – decent people, driven by decent values, resolving problems which can only be resolved together for the good of all.
“So our mission now is to give people a reason to reject bitter, us-and-them politics, to shun the politics of blame and fear, and choose something better. To do that, we have to provide the one thing that so many people across Britain still lack and crave: Opportunity.”
Clegg goes on to bemoan where the Liberal Democrats have been blocked by the Conservatives and Labour: such as their attempts to hastily undo centuries-old constitutional implements such as the House of Lords, and their intentions to try and attempt to get the taxpayer to fund their political activities through state-sponsorship of political parties.
In summary, Clegg’s party conference speech reads and feels like that of a man who is tired of Westminster politics, despite being one of the most recurrent parts of it for the past decade.
It is not so much anti-establishment as it is ‘bad loser’ – and it smacks of a Liberal Democrat party desperate to try and occupy the ‘outsider’ territory it did before 2010.