Sunday, 19 September 2010

Clegg takes questions from party faithful

Sunday afternoon's highlight was Nick Clegg answering questions from party members. I was watching this surrounded by a group of journalists who seemed completely bemused by the generally positive attitude most Lib Dems had towards both their leader and the coalition government.

I was pleased that Nick took the trouble to answer questions, not least because it allowed the assembled media to witness how Lib Dem activists actually feel about the new politics. It's also vital in a democratic party like ours to have this kind of dialogue, and to be able to ask awkward questions of the leadership where necessary.

Unfortunately, I wasn't so impressed with the questions which (understandably) focused mainly on the coalition, Nick's leadership and reporting in the media. I would have preferred him to have tackled questions on health reform, addressing social inequality, education or human rights. But then, perhaps I should have submitted a question...!

Unfortunately, immediately after Clegg had finished the journalists decided that was the important business over with and trundled out. A bit of a shame our press doesn't appear concerned with human rights, the "War on Terror" or International Development, all of which were discussed in the afternoon. Perhaps in due course they'll recognise that we're a party of progressive principles and values...on second thoughts, that's being ridiculously optimistic.

Nick's question and answer session can be viewed below:

"Can I trust you with my party?"

Nick answers a question on the Lib Dems' influence in coalition

Nick takes on accusations of "betrayal" and tackles a question on how to maintain the independence and integrity of the Liberal Democrats in government.

Nick answers a question about an interview in The Independent in which he was reported as saying that "the Liberal Democrats have no future as a party of the left".

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