Nick Clegg’s New Year Message: Don’t vote Ukip

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In his new year message, Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg has warned voters not to vote for anyone other than the yellow dove in May 2014’s European Parliament elections. The Deputy Prime Minister said that a vote for a euroskeptic party, or any other party for that matter would be the “surest way to throw our [economic] recovery away”. 

“Ukip want out. The Conservatives are flirting with exit. And Labour just don’t have the courage of their convictions on this,” he stated. “All three would put narrow political interests ahead of the national economic interest. So, in a few months, I’m going to ask you to make a different choice. The Liberal Democrats are Britain’s Party of In. Not because we’re in love with the EU, or we think it’s perfect but because being in Europe means jobs, trade and prosperity”.

What does this mean then? Well, it all comes across a bit tired. He’s used the well-worn “different choice” and “The Liberal Democrat’s are Britain’s…”, but the message comes across thinly. He nigh-admits the EU is not perfect, Parliamentese for seriously bad but I still want it.

And it feels as if Mr Clegg is trying with desperation to wave away conceptions of his party which seem, well… correct. The Conservatives aren’t flirting with exit, they’re clutching for popular policies with the British people, and “having their say” in a referendum will be an important factor in the next election.

As for Labour, the Liberal Democrat leader understands that Labour is even more pro-EU, but wouldn’t dare shout about it, since it’s unpopular. And we all know that Labour, having lost much credibility in the financial crisis of 2009, can’t afford to say out loud how they want to keep paying for the EU,  and wouldn’t bet something so important to them in an in-out debate at all.

Then Ukip, who’ve been outscoring the Lib Dems and their policies in polls consistently, and are tipped to make great successes in next year’s European elections. Nick Clegg, whilst enjoying coalition now, may not see power again without a handful of policies which look shiny and radical and achievable: sadly, the Liberal Democrats just aren’t that sort of politics. 

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2013: An awful year for the world, and a plentiful year for the media

Looking back on 2012, with its proud, planned jubilee, those safely exciting Olympic Games, and the discovery of the Higgs-Boson, it’s remembered as a rather nice, happy year (with the exception of the Greek debt crisis and the world’s worst power outage) since it was, really. But this year, this shocking, unfolded global year has galvanised us all and made us look away at times, for our own sake.

Three far-apart terrorist attacks (Woolwich, Boston Marathon and Nairobi), a Syrian civil war, a preventable sweatshop collapse, a typhoon, a pope who quit on us and that NSA whistleblower still tapdancing for our attention are some of the things we’ve seen, heard or read about and then gone to work or to bed. Prince George of Cambridge is beautiful but no redemption, and it doesn’t really matter how many pages he (and his family) are afforded over such scenes of shock and perpetuity, because they haven’t stopped. If someone doesn’t get down to Damascus tomorrow and sorts things out, it’s a petty safe bet that killing, displacement and autocracy will last into 2014.

Perhaps Haiyan and Woolwich will remain in our memories, along with the demise of Mandela. Or maybe only the remains of twerking, The Great British Bake Off, and that selfie taken at his funeral will be left, circling around in our minds endlessly when we think of 2013. I do hope not.

Here’s to a more peaceful next year. Have a memorable day.