Vir Cantium

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Clegg Plays His Last Hand

The Lib Dems, having come out in favour of a referendum on Europe, or not, and then in favour of tax cuts, or not, are now to concentrate on being the left-wing alternative to Labour, as Nick Clegg switched the party’s electoral strategy away from Conservative held seats to the “softer” Labour constituencies.

This, from the Lib Dem viewpoint, is a sensible move, and shows they have learnt at least one lesson from Henley. Johnathan Isaby has helpfully put together a list of Lab-Lib target seats – the ones that will receive the focus (sorry) of Cowley Street’s attentions – as much as they can muster these days, anyway.

The list includes Lewisham West & Penge at number 40, which could be expected to be a three way fight anyway. The only other “target seat” south of the river is Streatham at number 34. Conspicuous by its absence, though, is Lewisham East, where Bromley chicken-runner Chris Maines had set up camp in the hope of succeeding where he failed in Orpington.

Rumours had already been circulating on the Lewisham grapevine that Alex Feakes in Lewisham West & Penge was garnering far more support from activists than poor old Chris, and this latest news will not go down well among the Maines team.

On a wider note, Clegg really didn’t have many other realistic options, if he wants to keep more than a handful of MPs after the next General Election. If he pulls it off, then in few years the Lib Dems could realise their dream of becoming the official opposition – more likely, though, is that they will replicate the effects of the Gang of Four in the early Eighties and usher in a period of a split Left that will give Cameron a good three terms in government. As a good Conservative, of course, you won’t find me complaining about that.

Cross-posted on SELblog.

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One response to “Clegg Plays His Last Hand

  1. A August 11, 2008 at 12:59 pm

    That’s surprising about Feakes / Maines. Feakes is generally regarded as a clotsome windbag in Lewisham.

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