It is his assertion that Clegg is closer to the Tories "because he's a market man, not a social democrat at heart: it's the old Liberal-SDP split, Paddy Ashdown v Charles Kennedy, Menzies Campbell v Simon Hughes, Vincent Cable v Chris Huhne. Clegg's indignant denials are the "narcissism of small difference" that I take issue with. Whilst he acknowledges that he might be wrong and that "it won't matter much. Whatever Clegg's private inclinations (his Sheffield Hallam constituency is one of Britain's richest), his party is culturally anti-Tory at heart and will nip any temptation in the bud as it did when Jeremy Thorpe was tempted to sustain the defeated Ted Heath in office in February 1974." He has hit on a misrepresentation of Nick that feeds into an unjust perception, fed by the right wing media and hence prevalent amongst many of our potential supporters, that he is "Cameronlite". Yes, it may be reasonably fair to suggest he is a market man, and if that was the sum total of all that he is, I certainly would never have supported him. White, like many before him, has confused values and methodology. Nick, wrongly in my view of course, has a belief that the market can help deliver social objectives. But make no mistake, what drives him is not that blind belief in the market that characterises Tory philosophy, but a belief that we can and must have a fairer society. That we can and must redress the balance through fairer taxes and investment in improving the life chances of all our children. That we can and must fulfil the reason d'etre of our party - to build a fair, free and open society, balancing liberty, equality and community, in which no-one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity.
And that, dear Mr W, is light years away from being a mere "market man".