This week’s letter from Nick Clegg









Dear Les

This week the Prime Minister and I published the Coalition’s Mid-Term Review   – setting out the progress the Government has made so far and our plans for   the remaining two and a half years of this Coalition.

Two things really stand out in my mind. First, how much we’ve done and how   much has changed in the 32 months since we took office. It’s a bit like when   I go walking with my family in the Peak District near Sheffield – you’re   heading up a steep climb, and thinking about every step, every loose stone or   puddle on the path. And then, at a certain point, you turn around, look back,   and you see how far you’ve come. You can see your car – just a metallic glint   at the end of the track. And even though there’s a long climb ahead, you feel   ready to face it, knowing the view is going to be even better from the top.

Of course, government isn’t much like Stanage Edge. But it was   great to take the opportunity to remind myself of the achievements our party   is proudest of – like boosting apprenticeships, cutting income taxes for   people on low incomes and increasing investment in our school children. It   really has given me new enthusiasm about the coming two years, and what we   can achieve.

The second big realisation I had this week was during the press   conference. To be honest, it was pretty uneventful, leavened only by a couple   of rather lame politicians’ jokes about varnish (if you’re intrigued you can watch   a clip here).

But in fact it was the rather predictable questions and   predictable answers that made me realise that a great victory has been won: I   think, finally, the media are just starting to understand how coalition   works.

They understand that we can be two different political parties,   with different ideas and ambitions, and still work together in a common cause   for the good of the country. So they understand that even though there are   many reasons for the Prime Minister and I to disagree – the Leveson Inquiry,   climate change commitments, mansion tax and more – we can still start the new   year with a joint plan for how we govern in the next two years.

In other countries this would not be news. They are used to   coalition government. Let’s face it: this is the first peace-time coalition   in Britain in more than 80 years, and it takes time to adjust to the idea of   political parties compromising with one another. It’s not perfect, but then   no government is. And in my view it’s a darn sight better than a majority   government run by either of the two other parties.

I honestly believe that the more we can spread the word about   the realities of coalition – the real benefits that come when compromise and   negotiation trump ideology and extremism – the more we can rebuild people’s   faith in the Liberal Democrats. To do that we’ve got to get out there and   talk to people much, much more.

I’m doing my bit by starting a   new weekly radio phone-in, on LBC 97.3FM. You’ll be able to listen online on   Thursdays at 9am. Do encourage friends and family to tune in.     Best wishes,





Nick Clegg


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