i Editor's Letter: Mr Clegg has no intention of going anywhere

 

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The Independent Online

There were rumours this week in Glasgow, at the Lib Dems’ jamboree,  that Nick Clegg would dramatically resign. Cobblers. He isn’t going anywhere. In private, Mr Clegg has no illusions about the loss of support around the country. The first Liberal to hold high office since Lloyd George, he speaks candidly of the hatred levelled at him for going into Coalition and raising student fees, although is not the type to feel sorry for himself.

I once asked him if he would ever cut and run early from the Coalition. Foolish, he said. The Lib Dems must stay true to the Coalition til the last day, then fight on their record in government. Having gone through the pain of compromise, they could not afford to squander their achievements. His team are pursuing an ultra-defensive strategy: retreat to the strongholds, throw the party’s resources into fighting feverishly to hold its existing seats. Half a century of growth – from six parliamentary seats in the 1950s to 57 today – will stop in May. Some in his party would prefer the comfort of opposition. The great irony will be if Mr Clegg is once again kingmaker.

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380,000 people have signed a petition demanding that “Excalibur”, a dog belonging to the infected Ebola nurse Teresa Romero Ramos, be spared. (Officials intended to put down the animal to stop it spreading the virus.) A separate entreaty for vaccine research to be fast-tracked has half the signatories.

I hope each of those 380,000 big-hearts has also donated to one of the charities working in West Africa to stop the devastation wrought on people there. Says the Medecins Sans Frontières’ chief in Sierra Leone, Cristina Falconi: “We need action now, we cannot delay it.”

i@independent.co.uk

Twitter.com: @olyduff

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