It is quite possible that Nick Clegg has single-handedly destroyed the Liberal Democrats. During the General Election campaign, he was seen in three separate televised leadership debates promoting centre-left policies while soulfully gazing down the camera-lens in the manner an X-Factor contestant. What has happened to those policies? They’re all gone. He is now propping up a very right-wing Conservative administration and not only seems content to do so but actually seems to be relishing it. I can accept that people’s views can change, but not about everything in a matter of days.
No matter how one looks at Nick Clegg, it seems that he is an outrageous opportunist and liar. This is a man who will do anything for self-advancement, even if it means betraying the very people who elected him as party-leader and who voted for him during the General Election. It was generally agreed that Clegg came across well during the leadership debates and the policies he was espousing were for the most part popular, even if his personal high approval-rating didn’t translate into votes. So how do the people who thought so much of him during the General Election feel about him now? Judging by the polls (if they can be trusted) they certainly don’t rate him anymore.
The Liberal Democrats famously have their origins in the anti-absolutist Whigs who were a major force in UK politics from the 1680s to the 1850s, which is when the party changed its name to the Liberal Party. The rest is history, as they say. That is how old the party is and how crucial its role it has been in British history; it’s not a philosophy I personally subscribe to but I do think it deserves some measure of respect.
What of Nick Clegg’s history? Well, we know he originally began his political journey as a Conservative party member until switching his allegiance to the Liberal Democrats. Judging by his behaviour now, his views didn’t change all that much when he changed parties – perhaps he felt that he’d have better chance of becoming leader of the smaller Liberal Democrat party. Of course, that is strictly speculation on my part.
I’m not naïve. I know that politicians are careerists. However, I would like to think that they have some ideals and that they believe in what they are saying, if not what is the point? Despite being from the left, I can have friendly discussions with Tories and Liberal Democrats without it descending into a slanging match. Politicians like Nick Clegg, however, really annoy me. He is the very worst kind – he has sacrificed his entire party on the altar of his personal aggrandisement. There would be no point in debating anything with people like him; his views seem to change depending on who is listening to them. This is a man who would support any policy if it meant he could advance his career.
Can the Liberal Democrats survive the infamy that Nick Clegg is bringing to the party? Perhaps it can – it is a very old party after all, and it has survived worse. If I was a Liberal Democrat, I would seriously think about sacking him though. And soon.
For more Nick Cleggery here is a link to an excellent new blogger, Lisa Marie Miller – http://networkedblogs.com/79zmt