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Wednesday, May 28, 2014 

You can't put the vibe back into this hospital ward.

Now that the tears have been dried, the usual suspects have slunk back to their corners and the UKIP bubble of hype has at least somewhat deflated, we're finally getting something resembling a coherent reaction to last week's elections. Appropriately then the Liberal Democrats find themselves staring into the abyss, the only vaguely plausible response to the shoeing they received from the electorate as whole. It's been a hell of a long time coming and they still don't seem to have twigged precisely why it is they're about as popular as drug resistant gonorrhoea, but hey, at least it's a start.

It also wouldn't be a crisis if there wasn't a botched attempt at a coup, so major props must go to Lord Oakeshott, following in the illustrious footsteps of such titans as John Redwood, Adam Afriyie, James Purnell and Geoff "Buff" Hoon. There he was, innocently commissioning some private polling for his old mate Vince in Twickenham, only he also got ICM to conduct identical surveys in other constituencies as well. Including Nick Clegg's.  And Danny Alexander's.  All without Cable's knowledge or authorisation, natch. The results predictably show the Liberal Democrats could lose all the seats, although rival polling companies have since cast aspersions on the weighting, sample size and methodology used in general.  Despite being conducted at the beginning of the month, with the exception of the one in Alexander's constituency, they were then "leaked" to the Graun ready for Monday's edition, just as it looked as though Clegg was wobbling.  Or at least more than usual.

Has Clegg then duly realised he's leading the party to disaster and stepped in front of the proverbial omnibus?  No.  Has Oakeshott had to resign from the party before he had the whip suspended?  Yes.  There's losing spectacularly, there's failing cataclysmically and then there's what could become known as doing an Oakeshott.  It takes quite something to make Clegg look sympathetic, and yet against all odds Oakeshott's completely transparent plotting has achieved it.

It's made all the more ridiculous as Oakeshott has realised why the party's bombed since it signed up to the coalition, he's just advocating completely the wrong solution.  Tony Blair in one of his rare moments of lucidity had it right on Monday: you can't run on a platform to the left of Labour, then join a centre-right party in government and expect those you won over to stick by you.  The Liberal Democrats have always been a coalition of social democrats and free-market liberals, to state the freaking obvious, but the former usually held sway.  Allied to the Tories they've tried to present themselves as the kinder face of austerity, and well blow me down if this hasn't turned off both Labour and Tory voters.  Even a particularly stupid dog could have told them taking the credit for three years of a flat-lining economy was sensationally foolish, and yet they've kept on doing it.

The key to understanding why the party remains doomed is in the survey conducted by Lib Dem Voice on their members only forum.  81% still support the coalition, despite it having become ever more blindingly obvious it was the rush to jump into bed with Dave and pals, not thinking properly about the consequences that led them to this point.  The achievements simply haven't been worth the sacrifices, the broken promises, the abandoning of the principles and values Oakeshott points towards.  They fell into the trap of believing in their own fantasy of power, the majority still not shaken out of their lust, despite everything that's happened since.  Getting rid of Clegg isn't going to change that, unless his replacement intends to break from the coalition prior to the election, something neither Cable or Alexander have given any indication they would support.

Whether this has truly secured Clegg's position, at least for now, is open to question.  Nor has it really damaged Cable: such is the lack of talent in the party, with Tim Farron the only realistic opponent in a leadership election, he would almost certainly become leader, if only in the interim.  All depends on just how deep into the abyss the grassroots stare.  To develop further a Lib Dem source's take on Oakeshott, who said whether inside or outside the tent he pisses all over the place, at least that's better than pissing on himself.  That's precisely what the Lib Dems have been doing for the past four years in the coalition.  Only when they've finally finished emptying their bladder might the electorate start listening again.

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The lib demos don't seem to understand the loathing they have inspired in the lectorate.

Every person who voted lib dems felt betrayed. To then set about the destruction of NHS, tuition fees, selling the family silver of the country.

I'm afraid they have a much better chance 6 years hence, because so many want revenge or at least , To register their disapproval and disgust . Until the electorate see them "punished" for their actions they will be out of game even longer.

Replacing the leadership now will feel to their voters like they are trying to get away with it. Nothing short of Cleggs head on a plate might (possibly) change that.

They either face up to the fact they have five years in the political wilderness and THEN start to rebuild their party from the bottom up.

Or they can cha nge leadership now, and thus denied the electorate punishment. The truth it seems lies somewhere


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