Clegg condemns 'Sat-Nav' politics

Clegg: Instinctive Liberal
Clegg: Instinctive Liberal

Liberal Democrat leadership candidate Nick Clegg laid out the values informing his campaign today with an attack on the "Sat-Nav politics" of Labour and the Conservatives.

Speaking to an audience at the National Liberal Club, he said: "The so-called modernisers in the Labour and Conservative parties are much clearer about what they don't believe in, than what they do. They talk endlessly of change, but that change is defined in the narrowest of terms, in the language of tactical positioning.

"The result is the 'Sat-Nav' politics we are seeing today: Turn this way to shore up the core vote, that way for the floating vote. Go left for the approval of the Mirror, right for the Sun."

Mr Clegg went on to say the Liberal Democrats should look beyond being a third party.

"Some argue the best the Liberal Democrats can hope for is third place and a toe hold in government if we're lucky.

"That surely cannot be our aim. Third place is not good enough. Not good enough for me, for the party or for Britain.

At the centre of his platform, Mr Clegg explained, would be liberalism.

"The politics of the 21st century will increasingly be played out on liberal territory. And we will have home advantage.

"Our liberalism is instinctive. It cannot be faked."

He went on to set out the issues he felt would define the modern political world, as well as his campaign.

"These five challenges - empowering individuals, extending opportunity, balancing security and liberty, protecting the environment, engaging with the world - will dominate the political debate in my lifetime."

Mr Clegg also laid out the Lib Dem's environmental credentials.

"When Liberal Democrats talked about this issue ten, fifteen, twenty years ago, we were patronisingly dismissed as a fringe party obsessed with fringe issues.

"Today, the issue of climate change is front and centre in our national debate. As the scientific consensus has hardened, so the political coalition has broadened.

"The road to a carbon neutral Britain is paved with tough choices. We are the only party that has faced up to those choices. We must continue to do so."

Mr Clegg, a former member of the European Parliament, was elected to the House of Commons in 2005 and is currently the Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman.

The ballot for the successor to Sir Menzies Campbell as leader of the Liberal Democrats takes place next month.


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