Sunday, 18 December 2011

The Curse of Nick Clegg

It is a story fit for the Ancient Greeks. Such as Helen of Troy's gift to always be correct in her visions her curse was to always be disbelieved. For the time whence Nick Clegg was considered to be universally correct and everyone "Agree(d) with Nick" the Gods became angry and cursed him so that from May 2010 he would always be wrong - No matter what he did!!!

The most recent one occurred but yesterday. Nick Clegg blasted a French Minister for his criticism of the British economy as unfair and wrong.
Moments later a tweet appeared featuring Mr Clegg saying words to the affect of; "No Mr Clegg this is unfair and wrong." with a picture of Nick signing the pledge against Tuition fees.

Indeed Tuition fees is where it all began going awfully wrong. The Lib dems had originally run with and supported the plans to drop Tuition fees and make University free for all those who want to go - In fact *cringing* it is still the long term aim of the party, whether you guys believe me the party or not after last time.
Unfortunately we, as a party had signed on to follow the suggestions of the Brown Commission and therefore immediately became hamstrung. The party did its best to make repayments more attractive so that if you did go to University and failed to get a well paid job, as I and many of my peers have, the threshold went up... but to no avail.

The first mistake was considered to be the formation of the Coalition, something that HAD to be done for the good of the Nation to sort out the nation's failing economy. A delegation was sent to hear Labour's offer as well as the Conservatives and it was decided that the Conservatives had won and Labour were not serious about negotiations.
Nick Clegg the white?
It was not, as some Labour activists would suggest, a pre-ordained deal or one of two like minds. I get the feeling that some portray it as the Union of the Two towers and that Clegg stood before his Palantir and muttered;

The world is changing, who now has the strength to stand against Cowley Street and Millbank? To stand against the power of Cameron and Clegg and the Union of the Two towers? Together Dave, we shall rule this Great Britain.

It was genuinely the right decision to make and one that the majority of the nation supported at the time. So why now is it considered to be such a jolly big mistake?

As the Coalition has wound on though Nick has come under a lot of fire for sitting at the Prime Minister's side nodding vacantly. I have to admit that I have sat and shouted at the Television during PMQS;

Why are you nodding Nick? You don't/can't agree with this!!!

Issues like the NHS reforms and the attacks on the Human Rights act all seemed to be just humbly accepted.

Then POW! Tough Liberalism!

Nick announced that we as a party would stand up for ourselves in Government and for the things our party, parliamentary and grass roots believed in. He had been heavily criticised before but now he would make a stand.

Thus when the Prime Minister used his veto Clegg rode forth with the party line of Pro-Europe and openly criticised Mr Cameron's move. He tried to defend the Party's values but has been nationally been lambasted.
He has been criticised by the press and the Electorate for defending the indefensible i.e the collapse of the Euro and the EU trying to save its collapsing economy - which will have MASSIVE repercussions to the British economy if it does.

David Cameron also criticised him publicly in the house by saying that he had done "what I said I'd do."
Yes you did, but what Mr Clegg is upset about is that you said you would use the Veto if you needed to, but he, I and a quite a few Lib Dems feel, used it too soon.

Anyway, that aside, the point is he stood up for what he and we believe in. The Sun on Monday 12th December ripped him apart for daring to criticise him. In the "Sun Says" they even suggested the PM should send his Deputy to bed without any tea. Also in the Sun's survey it showed Clegg was the least trusted party leader on Europe policy. Really? Compared to the David Cameron who also has to placate some really anti-European MPs as well as the electorate, Ed Miliband who would criticise the Government even if they followed his suggestions or someone who has been an MEP, who can speak Russian, German, Dutch, Spanish... Someone who understands and has written about EU... Yeah good job, I wouldn't want Nick Clegg any where near Europe!

Nick did the right thing by not attending the PM's explanation to parliament on Monday. His presence would have been a distraction from the main event and ultimately helped no one. More importantly he did not agree with what was done. What happens? He's accused of sulking or skulking off to his office. What was he meant to do?

Indeed the Gods have been cruel. I predict that in 2015, after a somewhat inevitable mauling in the polls, Nick will have to stand down as leader which is a shame because whatever you think of him, he has been a great leader of the party. He has led us in a very good election campaign, led us into Coalition, got vast swathes of our manifesto put into law to the benefit of millions, forced a referendum on Electoral reform, we've got Localism, pupil premium, Free schools, boundary reform.... the list goes on and yet every step he has taken is judged to be wrong by the media and the public at wide.

Well, I still agree with Nick... most of the time anyway.


  1. Very minor point: you mean Cassandra of Troy, not Helen :)

  2. and I don't think you meant to include free schools??