A number of Lib Dems are calling for Nick Clegg’s head on a spike because of the poor showing at the local and European elections. They’re wrong to do so because it wasn’t his fault, it was always going to happen.
The Lib Dems have wanted an opportunity to get into a coalition government for years, they advocate for an election system that makes coalitions almost inevitable. They have also tried to paint themselves as being the UK’s middle-ground political party and it it this combination that has done for them. In 2010 they could have attempted to form a grand coalition in support of an unpopular and discredited Labour party, they would have been crucified. As it was they formed a coalition with us and alienated the bulk of their left wing supporter base and many of their left wing elected representatives. They have been crucified for doing that.
As you can see the Lib Dems were going to be punished at the ballot box irrespective of their decision back in 2010. However working with the Conservatives prevented our credit rating going into free-fall, cost of borrowing going through the roof and the kind of economic catastrophe that we haven’t seen since the 1970s.
But, they can no longer present themselves as all things to all men, they cannot be the protest party, they cannot be the anti-establishment party and be part of government. For all these reasons and the fact that they are so wrong on Europe it makes my head spin, they were given a kicking at these elections and there is nothing that Nick Clegg or any other potential leader can do about it.