Monday, 29 June 2009

Musings on Nick Clegg

Sometimes I almost feel sorry for Nick Clegg. Week after week in the Commons Chamber he has to pretend not to notice or care when MPs ostentatiously walk out as soon as he starts talking or jeer or heckle or yawn. Watching can sometimes be excruciating, like observing an amateur comic dying on stage. But then he spoils it by being pompous in a self-important sixth form way, and my sympathy evaporates. The pomposity is probably a necessary protective device, but it doesn't come across well, at least not to those of us in the same room as him.

Clegg doesn't seem to have done much to lift Lib Dem fortunes since the end of the Ming dynasty, if you look at overall levels of Lib Dem support in the opinion polls, but I wonder - has he actually won any new support for his party? Are there any people out there who weren't Lib Dem before, but have been won over by his leadership? Has he inspired younger people,* or attracted any new voters as he's steered his party on a rightwards course? Genuine question. After all, even if his party has remained roughly static in the polls, it could be that he's lost some (not very bright) people to Cameron's cuddly Conservatives, and some have come back to Labour in these almost post-Iraq days, but if this is the case (and logic would dictate that it is), has he compensated for that elsewhere?

*Out on the campaign trail on June 4th (polling day) I came across a couple of young canvassers who were lost in Lawrence Hill. Before telling them what road they were on, I asked what party they belonged to. Lib Dems, they said, 'so at least we're ideological allies'. No. We're not. Comes back to the old individualism -v- collectivism argument at a national level, but at a local level I've not come across a single Lib Dem with an ideological bone in their body. We won the ward over the Lib Dems by 9 votes. If we'd lost by 9 I'd have been kicking myself for telling them where they were!

7 comments:

Bevanite said...

Don't forget their stretching over us to hand leaflets to the SAME people. Ideologically very different and in practice even more so.

Man in the Street said...

I've not come across a single Lab with an ounce of common sense in their body.

Kerry said...

Hmm. That's not really what we're talking about here though, is it? Thoughts on Clegg please?

robnewman said...

I've thought for some years that the great unwritten story of politics over the last few years has been the flatlining of the Lib Dem position. Even right back in '05 they were talking about getting 70 or 80 Commons seats. It didn't happen. Then they stood still at the devolved elections in 2007 and at every local election. The truth is that they've simply gone nowhere - and I don't see them benefiting from any anti-Labour vote in 2010, either.

Remember Remember said...

I'd still rather have a Lib Dem like Clegg representing me than a vegetarian Labourite, especially since you stoop to ad hominems.
Stick that in your blog and smoke it.

Paul said...

Clegg is an ungainly upper class twit who doesn't really have much connection to the real world hence his comments that redundancy was good for family life. Yes if you are very wealthy but not if it means you cant keep a roof over your head

dreamingspire said...

In Nick Clegg's response straight after Brown's Manifesto launch this week, I was disappointed that he claimed that the new 'entitlements' are just the targets with a new name. No, they are not, as was confirmed later by, I think, Mandelson, calling them 'enforceable entitlements'. So far the only way mentioned for us citizens to enforce is to go to an Ombudsperson (of which it is suggested there may be more, but they have no power) or to court. So Clegg should have asked how, in the face of authoritarian public servants, we can claim our entitlements and be sure that they will be delivered. Nick is very personable, but doesn't do the polite Liberal thing of putting precision-guided pressure on govt (in contrast to the crude Tory claim that the govt is run by liars). LDs should go to the heart of the problem of service delivery: we have a govt with a bunker mentality, incapable of embracing the hard work need to deliver a public service ethos.