Nick Clegg prior to giving a television interview during a visit to Hughes Safety Showers on May 21, 2014 in Stockport, England. Photograph: Getty Images.
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Lib Dems endure mixed results in parliamentary seats

The party held onto Eastleigh and Sutton but lost Cambridge and Kingston.

The defining test for the Lib Dems in the local elections is how they perform in those areas where they have MPs. If the party can hold on in its local strongholds, Nick Clegg will be able to put a positive spin on what are generally terrible results.

To the relief of Lib Dem HQ, then, they can point to signs of resilience. The party won comfortably in Eastleigh, where the Conservative vote collapsed from 28 per cent to just 16 per cent, and in Birmingham Yardley, where it defeated Labour by 46 per cent to 28 per cent. In addition, it held Sutton, where it has two MPs - Paul Burstow and Tom Brake - and gained four seats from the Tories and Labour.

The main exception is Kingston, home to Energy Secretary Ed Davey, where the party lost control to the Tories having held the council for 12 years. Davey will hope that the result says more about the performance of the council, which has the highest rate of council tax in London and saw its leader jailed, then it does about his general election chances.

But while the party has performed credibly in Tory-facing seats, it has suffered in areas where Labour is the main challenger. It lost control of Cambridge, where Julian Huppert is MP, and lost seats in Hornsey and Wood Green, Lynne Featherstone's constituency.

If it's clear that the Lib Dems aren't destined for wipeout in 2015, it's also clear that some of its best-known figures are in serious danger of losing their seats next year.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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Donald Trump vs Barack Obama: How the inauguration speeches compared

We compared the two presidents on trade, foreign affairs and climate change – so you (really, really) don't have to.

After watching Donald Trump's inaugural address, what better way to get rid of the last few dregs of hope than by comparing what he said with Barack Obama's address from 2009? 

Both thanked the previous President, with Trump calling the Obamas "magnificent", and pledged to reform Washington, but the comparison ended there. 

Here is what each of them said: 

On American jobs

Obama:

The state of our economy calls for action, bold and swift.  And we will act, not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth.  We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together.  We'll restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost.  We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories.  And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age.

Trump:

For many decades we've enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry, subsidized the armies of other countries while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military.

One by one, the factories shuttered and left our shores with not even a thought about the millions and millions of American workers that were left behind.

Obama had a plan for growth. Trump just blames the rest of the world...

On global warming

Obama:

With old friends and former foes, we'll work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet.

Trump:

On the Middle East:

Obama:

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West, know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. 

Trump:

We will re-enforce old alliances and form new ones and unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the earth.

On “greatness”

Obama:

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned.

Trump:

America will start winning again, winning like never before.

 

On trade

Obama:

This is the journey we continue today.  We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth.  Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began.  Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week, or last month, or last year.  Our capacity remains undiminished.  

Trump:

We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our product, stealing our companies and destroying our jobs.

Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength. I will fight for you with every breath in my body, and I will never ever let you down.

Stephanie Boland is digital assistant at the New Statesman. She tweets at @stephanieboland