Stop Using Clegg as a Whipping-Boy!
Posted by jonathanfryer on Friday, 26th August, 2011
Yesterday in Glasgow a protestor threw blue paint into Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg’s face, splattering not only him but the leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, Willie Rennie, and some policemen (the last of whom are expected to press charges). Clegg’s team laughed off the incident, saying that as Nick has small children, he’s used to getting splashed. The protestor was doubtless making the point crudely that some voters in Britain feel that Clegg has turned the Liberal Democrats into Tories by joining with the Conservatives in Coalition government. Anyone who hears Nick speak, or reads recent statements he has put out, for example in defending human rights legislation, cannot honestly believe that. It’s maybe true that he sometimes seems to get on too well with Prime Minister David Cameron, though a good working relationship is of course necessary for a functioning coalition. And of course the LibDems didn’t get all of their manifesto commitments into the government programme; they are the junior partner, after all, yet they achieved most of what they wanted nonetheless. The same could be said about the Conservatives. But what has become abundantly clear is that over the past year or so, Nick Clegg has become a whipping-boy for the Left, having every criticism of the government – however fair or unfair – hurled at him personally. At times it has appeared that some Conservatives are happy for that to be the case. They should stop, and so should Labour or other opposition supporters and actually take the trouble to find out what Nick Clegg the man is like, what he believes in, and why he felt it was right to take a radical party like the Liberal Democrats into the Coalition after last year’s inconclusive election.