Saturday, 2 April 2011

Desperate Clegg Orders Rebranding Of Lib Dems

I held back on this for a couple of days in case anyone thought it was an April Fool story. But it's not.

Nick Clegg has ordered a rebranding of the Liberal Democrats amid signs that he could face a challenge to his leadership if his party continues to slump in the polls and rumblings about his stewardship at the highest level.

Rumours about Mr Clegg's leadership have emerged after mounting discontent among party members in the country who are furious at the direction the party has been taking in government.

The rise in university tuition fees and the speed and depth of cuts to public spending are particular bones of contention.

The rebranding exercise due to get under way next month will involve a total rethink of the party's direction and could even include changing the name and logo, insiders said.

Some party strategists believe the name should change to include the word "social", in order to reassure members and voters that it is more left wing. The image of a bird in flight could go in favour of a new logo emphasising fairness and social justice, such as a scale.

Mr Clegg is particularly worried about his own personal ratings and has asked for ideas about good news initiatives he could be associated with.

David Cameron is said to be increasingly concerned that Mr Clegg will be fatally weakened if there is a "no" vote in the referendum on voting reform on May 5.

Many Liberal Democrat MPs and grassroots members have only been prepared to swallow the major concessions made to the Tories since because they want to secure AV. Without voting reform, the Lib Dem grass roots might decide to try to trigger an end to the coalition.

It is also feared the Lib Dems could lose up to 500 council seats in the local elections, further destabilising Mr Clegg.

One senior Conservative strategist said: "If it's a 'no' we are going to need to shore Clegg up a bit. If it's 'no' and heavy Lib Dem council losses, we are going to have to shore him up a lot. We might need to throw him quite a lot of concessions to keep this going."

Locally, Tory commentators have begun to tweet their discontent "@CllrRWillis Do we have to be so friendly w/ the LibDems? I know their our coalition partners but feel like we should be standing our ground". (11:01 AM Mar 31st via Twitter)

Full story here.

(image courtesy of Tory Cllr Dave Luckett)

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