Is Simon Hughes Britain’s most confused politician?

Following Evan Harris's bizarre claim last week that the only way to get rid of fees was to "vote more Liberal Democrats into power", Simon Hughes yesterday said he "would have liked to have voted against" fees - but didn't, just as he threatened to vote against the VAT rise in the Budget but failed to do so, and as he threatened to do over the government's housing benefit cuts.

Following Evan Harris’s bizarre claim last week that the only way to get rid of fees was to “vote more Liberal Democrats into power”, Simon Hughes yesterday said he “would have liked to have voted against” fees – but didn’t, just as he threatened to vote against the VAT rise in the Budget but failed to do so, and as he threatened to do over the government’s housing benefit cuts.

Indeed, if you google ‘”Simon Hughes” rebellion’ or ‘”Simon Hughes” revolt” you’d be forgiven for thinking this was a man who would stand up for those affected by, and vote against, the coalition’s cuts in all manner of areas: students, those living in social housing, jobseekers, students again – and one article on May 10th in which he threatens a ‘revolt’ against any deal with the Conservatives, describing them as “unreconstructed” and suggesting “no deal would be possible”.

His latest remarks came in The World This Weekend on Radio Four on Sunday, in which he justified his breaking of the tuition fees pledge by saying he “had to honour” the deal with the Tories, not his deal with students. Listen to it:

As Iain Dale asked on Thursday:

“What exactly is the point of Simon Hughes? Is he just a giant conscience on a stick? Discuss.”

Also at the weekend, the latest opinion polls provided more worrying news for Nick Clegg. The “What future for the Liberal Democrats” poll on Conservative Home revealed that only half of those who voted Lib Dem in May (54 per cent) expect to do so again, and three times as many Lib Dem voters (44 per cent) think the party has changed for the worse since the election; just 14 per cent think it has changed for the better.

An Ipsos-Mori poll in the News of the World, meanwhile, revealed that 61 per cent of voters regard Nick Clegg as untrustworthy. As Nick Cohen wrote in yesterday’s Observer, in a column titled “The young will have their revenge, Mr Clegg”:

“The final, despairing line from the Westminster village last week was that ‘protests don’t change politics’. It’s as untrue as the notion that the Liberal Democrats are a ‘serious’ party.

“The students may have not stopped fees rising but they have changed politics. They have destroyed Nick Clegg’s reputation so thoroughly, I cannot see how he can recover.”

Update 3:15

There have been a number of amusing tweets in relation to Simon Conf-Hughes-ed’s current predicament:

@JoshFG: What’s the difference between @LibDemSimon and a wesal //is.gd/iFNRt listening to this it’s hard to tell.

@SharonAvraham: Why didn’t Simon Hughes vote against? Because he’s got no backbone maybe?

@laurelrusswurm: who do politicians actually serve?

@FrankSpring: We can at least thank Simon Hughes for disabusing us of the notion that to govern is to choose.

@DuncanStott: Sheesh. That clip just about sums up how effective Lib Dem communications have been over Uni funding.

@wdjstraw: Not good enough. Is he a man of principle or a fig leaf for Cameron?

@MusingJules: That man could not lie straight in bed!

@Colchester1648: because he’s a coward, and has now ended any chance he ever had of leading the party. He’ll be gone soon.

@Scarletstand: because he’s a wet wuss who wouldn’t recognise a principle if is slapped him in the face with a soggy fish.

41 Responses to “Is Simon Hughes Britain’s most confused politician?”

  1. Ray Lovegrove

    RT @leftfootfwd: Is Simon Hughes Britain's most confused politician? //bit.ly/eflMp0 writes @ShamikDas

  2. Digital Scotsman

    Peter Tatchell for Bermondsey!

  3. Ian Gray

    RT @leftfootfwd: Is Simon Hughes Britain's most confused politician? //bit.ly/eflMp0 writes @ShamikDas

  4. Will Straw

    Am baffled by Simon Hughes saying “I would have liked to have voted against” fees rise. So why didnt he? //bit.ly/eflMp0

  5. Allister Hayman

    RT @wdjstraw: Am baffled by Simon Hughes saying “I would have liked to have voted against” fees rise. So why didnt he? //bit.ly/eflMp0

  6. tom_watson

    RT @wdjstraw: Am baffled by Simon Hughes saying “I would have liked to have voted against” fees rise. So why didnt he? //bit.ly/eflMp0

  7. Pam Blundell

    RT @wdjstraw: Am baffled by Simon Hughes saying “I would have liked to have voted against” fees rise. So why didnt he? //bit.ly/eflMp0

  8. Frank Spring

    RT @wdjstraw: Am baffled by Simon Hughes saying “I would have liked to have voted against” fees rise. So why didnt he? //bit.ly/eflMp0

  9. Richard Johnson

    RT @wdjstraw: Am baffled by Simon Hughes saying “I would have liked to have voted against” fees rise. So why didnt he? //bit.ly/eflMp0

  10. Jon H

    RT @wdjstraw: Am baffled by Simon Hughes saying “I would have liked to have voted against” fees rise. So why didnt he? //bit.ly/eflMp0

  11. Louisa Loveluck

    RT @wdjstraw: Am baffled by Simon Hughes saying “I would have liked to have voted against” fees rise. So why didnt he? //bit.ly/eflMp0

  12. ABC

    RT @wdjstraw: Am baffled by Simon Hughes saying “I would have liked to have voted against” fees rise. So why didnt he? //bit.ly/eflMp0

  13. Henry Kippin

    RT @wdjstraw: Am baffled by Simon Hughes saying “I would have liked to have voted against” fees rise. So why didnt he? //bit.ly/eflMp0

  14. Samira Shackle

    RT @wdjstraw: Am baffled by Simon Hughes saying “I would have liked to have voted against” fees rise. So why didnt he? //bit.ly/eflMp0

  15. Joshua Fenton-Glynn

    What's the difference between @LibDemSimon and a wesal //is.gd/iFNRt listening to this it's hard to tell (via @WDJStraw)

  16. Francis Mallinson

    RT @wdjstraw: Am baffled by Simon Hughes saying “I would have liked to have voted against” fees rise. So why didnt he? //bit.ly/eflMp0

  17. Cindy Penney

    RT @wdjstraw: Am baffled by Simon Hughes saying “I would have liked to have voted against” fees rise. So why didnt he? //bit.ly/eflMp0

  18. Wesley Mason

    RT @wdjstraw: Am baffled by Simon Hughes saying “I would have liked to have voted against” fees rise. So why didnt he? //bit.ly/eflMp0

  19. Anon E Mouse

    “Is Simon Hughes Britain’s most confused politician?” – He may be but since no one knows what Ed Miliband thinks about anything who can tell…

  20. Josh Blacker

    RT @wdjstraw: Am baffled by Simon Hughes saying “I would have liked to have voted against” fees rise. So why didnt he? //bit.ly/eflMp0

  21. Sean Desmond Parlor

    RT @wdjstraw: Am baffled by Simon Hughes saying “I would have liked to have voted against” fees rise. So why didnt he? //bit.ly/eflMp0

  22. Greg Sheppard

    RT @wdjstraw: Am baffled by Simon Hughes saying “I would have liked to have voted against” fees rise. So why didnt he? //bit.ly/eflMp0

  23. SLS

    Evan Harris was pointing out that it was the Lib Dems and their manifesto that wanted to remove fees. The current government is not a Lib Dem government, it is a Conservative led coalition. Therefore, you are not going to get 100% Lib Dem policy. What we have got is a mixture of policies from both parties and some areas of compromise.

    Simon Hughes is arguing that despite wanting to vote against the policy, he has chosen to back the coalition as agreed in the coalition programme. The coalition agreement allows Lib Dems to abstain on any tuition fee votes, but that is it. He knows that a coalition takes compromise. If Lib Dems continually vote against Tory policies, what is to stop the Tories voting against issues like voting reform, the pupil premium etc.

  24. ChaucerClaire

    RT @wdjstraw: Am baffled by Simon Hughes saying “I would have liked to have voted against” fees rise. So why didnt he? //bit.ly/eflMp0

  25. new_politics

    RT @wdjstraw: Am baffled by Simon Hughes saying “I would have liked to have voted against” fees rise. So why didnt he? //bit.ly/eflMp0

  26. Éoin Clarke

    Simon Hughes is confused. But that is to be welcomed and refreshing, that a politician cannot worm his way out of something by equivocating and lying. The guy had his arm twisted and is decent enough to admit it. What is much worse is trying to fool the public that the bill was progressive or that it was a graduate tax in all but name. The LDs that have pursued that line give me the eebie jeebies with their lying and machinations. We should applaud Simon for being an amateur liar.

  27. Catherine McKinnell

    RT @wdjstraw: Am baffled by Simon Hughes saying “I would have liked to have voted against” fees rise. So why didnt he? //bit.ly/eflMp0

  28. Top Politics Tweets

    RT @wdjstraw: Am baffled by Simon Hughes saying “I would have liked to have voted against” fees rise. So why didnt he? //bit.ly/eflMp0

  29. Georgia Elliott

    Baffledby Simon Hughes “I would've liked to havevoted against” fees rise.So why didnt he? //bit.ly/eflMp0 <full of logic those libdems!

  30. Ann Opinion

    RT @wdjstraw: Am baffled by Simon Hughes saying “I would have liked to have voted against” fees rise. So why didnt he? //bit.ly/eflMp0

  31. Maroulla Savage

    RT @wdjstraw: Am baffled by Simon Hughes saying “I would have liked to have voted against” fees rise. So why didnt he? //bit.ly/eflMp0

  32. PB

    RT @wdjstraw: Am baffled by Simon Hughes saying “I would have liked to have voted against” fees rise. So why didnt he? //bit.ly/eflMp0

  33. ABC

    RT @GeorgiaElliott7: Baffledby Simon Hughes “I would've liked to havevoted against” fees rise.So why didnt he? //bit.ly/eflMp0 < …

  34. Sean Desmond Parlor

    RT @GeorgiaElliott7: Baffledby Simon Hughes “I would've liked to havevoted against” fees rise.So why didnt he? //bit.ly/eflMp0 < …

  35. Mr. Sensible

    SLS, the Lib Dem leadership have already tried that one, and the fact is the public is no longer listening.

    Hughes values a pledge which sustains his party in power more than a pledge which got him in to office, does he? No change there then…

  36. Spir.Sotiropoulou

    RT @leftfootfwd: Is Simon Hughes Britain's most confused politician? //bit.ly/gXE8rY

  37. Kevin Richards

    RT @leftfootfwd: Is Simon Hughes Britain's most confused politician? he ought to be- //bit.ly/gXE8rY

  38. Kiern Moran

    Dam right Digital Scotsman and maybe this time the “Liberal” candidate won’t stand on a blatantly homophobic ticket.

  39. wendy porrill

    RT @wdjstraw: Am baffled by Simon Hughes saying “I would have liked to have voted against” fees rise. So why didnt he? //bit.ly/eflMp0

  40. Duncan

    “We Are Fighting Against…. 3. Media manipulation and bias to support a hidden agenda.”

    “Is Simon Hughes Britain’s most confused politcian” – No, he’s saying he would have voted ‘no’ but he wanted to maintain the coalition which would have been impossible if all LibDems voted no/and or maintain his own position in the party which would have been untenable if he had voted no both of which he wants to do ‘good stuff’ in the future. That’s what he says in the interview.

    The reason I quote that remark at the beginning is that during the campaign this website was one of many I came to for sensible commentary. I now find that it’s just post after post of facile LibDem bashing wherein there is always an attempt to make the worst possible (as opposed to the most charitable) interpretation of their actions. And that’s fine, you have you bias, but the website is turning into a left wing version of Guido Fawkes. Honestly; go back and read your headline and ask yourself if “Is Harriet Harman Britain’s most confused politican” isn’t something you’d expect Paul Staines to have written.

    I just think it’s really sad, because this site used to be worth something.

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