Peter Hoskin

One hundred days

One hundred days
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What’s the verdict, then, on Nick Clegg’s first 100 days as Lib Dem leader? Not good, I’d say. Sure, he got off to a solid start – making positive noises on public service reform and the economy. But things went rapidly awry with his appalling actions over the Lisbon Treaty. The bizarre way in which he forced his MPs to back down from a manifesto commitment has quite rightly attracted a lot of negative press. And there will be few more embarrassing incidents than that orchestrated walk-out in this – or in any other – Parliament.

What’s more, the subsequent recovery attempt hasn’t been all that impressive. Clegg’s started to peddle the anti-Westminster approach (Exhibit A: his interview on the Today Programme this morning), which – whilst laudable in itself – comes across as him riding on David Cameron’s coat-tails. Also, his Orange Book reform agenda seems to have been buried, perhaps in the face of internal party opposition. (Although we must award him plus marks for agreeing to a Coffee House Q&A).

Fortunately for Clegg, though, it’s only been 100 days. There is – one assumes – time for him to turn things around.  He has a lifeline in the shape of the local elections, in which the Lib Dems have tended to perform quite well in recent times. A good set of results in May could be the perfect platform from which the Lib Dem leader can launch a more successful second hundred days.  On the other side of the same coin, a bad set of results and Team Clegg might start getting very nervous indeed.