Friday, March 25, 2011

Is Nick Clegg a Lib Dem?

That's the difficult question I asked myself this morning on reading of Nick's overheard comments to David Cameron yesterday. "If we keep doing this we won't find anything to bloody disagree on in the bloody leadership debates" It may have been said in jest, but like many jokes it perhaps comes closer to the truth than we would like to believe.

Despite my feelings about the Coalition I have not changed my personal regard for Nick, just as I have Tory and Labour pals I am really fond of, I still regard him as a good, brave and liberal person, with whom I still agree on many things...........however............(how did you know there would be a however?!) his overheard comments yesterday disturbed me more than anything that has happened since the Coalition was formed. If he honestly cannot think of any differences with Cameron it gives the lie to the leadership argument that what we have landed up with in terms of Coalition policy is a compromise and the inevitable consequence of not being in power on our own - yeah right!

I understand from someone who was there at the time, that Nick allegedly decided to join the Lib Dems only because he didn't like the Tory position on Europe and LGBT issues. OK, there are many in our party who may quite comfortable in a more liberal Tory party, but they are not the majority. The preample to our constitution which sets out our values clearly, the fact that 2/3rds of our party see themselves as on the left, just a cursory glance at our manifesto and our reams of policy papers - demonstrates that we are not a right wing party. Do we really believe that had Paddy or Charles or Simon Hughes been leader at the moment they could have made such a comment - even in jest? I don't think so.

So, my question is a genuine one, yes Nick is a liberal to his fingertips - that's why I supported him - but is he a liberal democrat one?