Thursday, February 10, 2011

Clegg at bay

I almost felt sorry for Nick Clegg while watching his Q&A session with a group of university students last night. This time last year, he would have been lionised by the group, praised as the future of progressive politics and chiming with the mood of youth. Now, he looked very drawn, despite his attempts to spin his personal broken promise as a win for students everywhere - a line that they just wouldn't swallow. Clegg's embarrassment also revealed that the plans to offer two free years to students in receipt of free school meals in sixth form are in tatters and look to be dead in the water.

Resorting to the condescending and insulting approach of suggesting that they simply failed to understand the policy didn't help him either and ensured that I couldn't find any pity for him.
He has chosen his path, taken his party with him towards electoral destruction and all but guaranteed them a return to political irrelevance for a generation. The tribal part of me enjoys it, but there is an element that feels sorrow that a party with many members of a truly progressive mind has been suckered into supporting Cameron's cronies. Nick Clegg has become a liability, an albatross around the neck of the Liberal Democrats and it would take a miracle for him to be fit to lead the party into the 2015 election.

As one student put it
You are either stupid, or you are mad, or you are malicious
Nick Robinson chided him for insulting the deputy prime minister, but he missed the point. Clegg might even be all three.

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