Some Conservatives, and others, will find it tempting to use the AV referendum campaign as a chance to attack the Lib Dems in general and Nick Clegg in particular. This would be both unfair and unwise.
The Lib Dems have long been proponents of an electoral system which creates hung parliaments and coalition governments, when presented with circumstances to form a coalition it would have been ridiculous for Nick Clegg not to have taken up the opportunity. I suspect that Clegg and the Lib Dems were surprised by the reality of coalition negotiations and the compromises that need to be made, it is clear that the bulk of the party is no more comfortable with it than Conservatives are.
Clegg's unpopularity has mainly been driven by his total u-turn on tuition fees. Many students and Lib Dems supporters are furious at what they feel is a sell out by Clegg. But what would any other Lib Dem leader have done in the same position?
The Lib Dems are the junior partner is a coalition and will get less of their agenda implemented than the senior partner, Clegg had to decide what his bottom line was going to be in those few days in May and he chose a referendum on changing the voting system. A different person as party leader might have picked something else, but I doubt it. To get the referendum Clegg had to drop a number of Lib Dem manifesto commitments, this doesn't indicate weakness or dishonesty on Clegg's part, it is the natural byproduct of coalition government.
People who are angry at Nick Clegg should really be angry that he was forced into dropping long standing manifesto commitments by the needs of coalition. They should be angry that the commitments that both Lib Dem and Conservative ministers work by are the ones in the coalition agreement not either of the parties' manifestos. They should be angry that when it comes to holding those MPs to account at the next election they will all have a sound defence in that their hands were forced by the needs to make a coalition work.
All the things which people are getting legitimately angry about are not the fault of Nick Clegg but they are the fault of the electoral system that he supports. Say no to AV not because of Nick Clegg but because AV is a bad system which will make politicians less accountable to their electors.
Coulson in Court
5 hours ago