I don’t always agree with Nick, but I do sometimes feel sorry for him.
Let’s rewind a bit. I found it pathetic how Clegg was worshipped during the 2010 General Election leaders’ debates.
From what I can recall he was heralded as a political messiah on the basis of five Unique Selling Points which weren’t really unique or even selling points:
- He wasn’t Gordon Brown
The words “low expectations” spring to mind.
- He wasn’t David Cameron
They’re peas in a pod, though: they both attended exclusive private schools, they’re both considerably richer than yow, they’re both the sons of financiers, and they’re both the beneficiaries of political nepotism. The main difference between them is that Clegg’s wife is fitter than Cameron’s, just.
- During the debates, Brown and Cameron agreed with him – sometimes
I haven’t got a clue why this was considered a positive thing, in the context of the two previous points.
- He managed to address audience members by their name
This is a great man.
- He offered the prospect of “real change”
From what, and to what, it was never really clear, but don’t busy yourself with those details. Obama demonstrated how important it is to inject the concept of “change” into a political brand – remember “Change is coming to America”? Would you say Obama has fundamentally changed that country?
Clegg’s Liberal Democrats entered into a coalition government with David Cameron’s Conservatives, whereas their natural brethren are Labour, and ever since then Clegg has pretty much been the national whipping boy. It’s likely that his decision to jump into bed with Cameron will ultimately cost him his political career; arguably it already has.
I struggle to see what else Clegg could have done in that position, though, and I’ve never really heard anyone put forward a coherent alternative when criticising him. He tried a coalition with Labour but Brown, Mandelson und Kameraden weren’t interested. Were the Liberal Democrats meant to keep going until they won a clear majority in a General Election – a virtual impossibility given the workings of our electoral system?
The Liberal Democrats seized their chance to enter government and I think that was not only rational but also courageous. Yes, some of their manifesto has gone down the toilet but they have also managed to implement some of it – that’s what happens when no party wins an outright majority and there is a coalition, people.
Clegg is an atheist and I see he is considering sending his child to a Catholic school – the silent implication here being, I believe, that this is yet further evidence of how deceitful and unprincipled this man is.
I find it literally revolting that, in the United Kingdom in 2011, a parent’s religious beliefs or lack thereof should have any bearing at all on the choice of state-provided education that his or her child is entitled to receive. In fact, I would go even further and argue against the provision of religious schools through the private sector – and I am someone who believes the interference of the State in the choices adults make should be an absolute minimum. And before people harp on about a parent’s right to educate a child as he or she sees fit, I think someone else’s rights are more important. (The child’s.)
Clegg’s intended choice of school is a State school, provided at taxpayers’ expense. In what other field of public service are the recipients routinely segregated according to religious beliefs? Do we have Muslim bin collections? Was that a Mormon ambulance I just saw hurtling past? Have you ever booked a Scientology-specific procedure on the NHS? Do you know anyone who has joined the Jewish police force? Is there one set of planning permissions for Baptists, another for Pentecostalists and yet another for Methodists?
Religious segregation of adults is bad enough; of children it’s vile and inexcusable.
I detest the very concept of sectarian schools – I refuse to use the term “faith school” because that is too innocuous and does not convey the true nature of the concept – but I believe it is my right, as a taxpayer, to access public services and that the State has a duty to provide those services to me.
That doesn’t make me unprincipled or a hypocrite. It just means that in order to have a proper choice of State school for the instruction of my child I am forced by our retarded, semi-theocratic education system to take part in a sectarian, discriminatory, degrading, archaic, arbitrary and stupid game, the fundamental rule of which boils down to which deity or deities I may or may not believe in.
Oh, I remember a few years ago, in December 2007, being pissed one night and waiting for a train at Euston Station. I saw Nick Clegg on the concourse and I kept shouting out “Nick!” and whenever he turned around I averted my gaze so he wouldn’t know who it was. It was funny at the time, to me. If you’re reading this, Nick, sorry about that.