Paddy Ashdown, the former Liberal Democrat leader, has made an impassioned plea for party members to avoid “short-term personal manoeuvring” and to stand behind Nick Clegg so they can use him more effectively as a shield against the great shower of shit that is being rained on them at the moment from a great height.
His appeal to rally behind Mr Clegg as a shit shield, came after the Lib Dem peer Lord Oakeshott called on the party to consider deposing the deputy prime minister and replacing him with something else more effective such as the business secretary Vince Cable, whose bigger profile would enable more of the parliamentary party to be able to crouch behind him.
Oakeshott, a close ally of Vince Cable, told the Radio 4 Today programme that the Lib Dems need to take a careful look at their “strategy and management” of relying on such an insignificant political figure as Clegg to hide behind and suggested the party formed a more effective shitwall by tying David Laws and Danny Alexander’s legs securely to Mr Clegg’s with bits of orange string until just before the next election when the party can ditch all three of them for leaders that voters don’t think are so full of crap.
The move by Ashdown, who during his time as leader of the Liberal Democrats improved the party’s middle-of-the-road sandal-wearing image by shagging one of his colleagues behind his wife’s back, also highlights rumbling noises coming from the bowels of the party over the ability of Mr Clegg to take sole blame for the risky political strategy the party has been following of selling out all their principles for a small taste of power.
However, Clegg hit back at Oakeshott, telling ITV News:
I am perfectly capable of shielding everyone in the party by myself – especially as after the next election there are going to be so few Liberal Democrat MPs left we will all be able to comfortably fit beneath just one compact easy-to-carry telescopic umbrella between us.
Related articles by Tom Pride on this subject:
Despite his lack of relevance, Nick Clegg is likely to have attended sensitive meetings, No 10 admits
Nick Clegg announces £126m scheme to encourage employers to take on unemployed Lib Dem politicians after next election
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