In a concurrent London Evening Standard piece, Nick Clegg wrote:
I was on a platform with other politicians taking questions from a student audience. A local Labour MP was having the normal go at me about tuition fees. Fair enough — though I noticed he omitted to mention Labour’s own role in introducing tuition fees, and then trebling them on its own watch.
No, the moment Labour’s malaise really struck me was when this MP started speaking about the vote last week in the Commons on Article 50. He displayed none of the intelligence or humility of Keir Starmer, the shadow secretary for exiting the EU, who disarmingly confessed to the gathered MPs how difficult the issue is for Labour. Instead, in Sheffield this MP started to deliver a sanctimonious lecture to the Ukip and Conservative panellists, berating them for placing immigration above the economy in the Brexit talks.
I couldn’t contain myself. Irascibly, I interrupted his pro-European sermon to remind him that he’d just got off a train from London having voted with Douglas Carswell, Michael Gove, John Redwood and other zealous Brexiteers. How could he claim he was representing the interests of the youngsters in the audience having given his support to Theresa May’s uncompromisingly hard Brexit, yanking the UK out of the single market altogether?
Nick then went on to talk about catching up with new Liberal Democrat Councillor for Brinsworth Dr Adam Carter, who won with a colossal 2000 votes – more than the Lib Dems managed in 2015 in the entire Rotherham constituency:
When I asked the jubilant Lib-Dem councillor what his explanation was for his victory, his answer was simple: “People round here just feel totally taken for granted by Labour.”