Tuesday, 8 February 2011

The new whipping boy

Poor Nick Clegg; everyone from Jonathan Ross and Jeremy Clarkson to readers of the News of the World thinks he deserves a good kicking.  For what, I wonder?  Doing the right, however politically uncomfortable thing?

I grow tired of hearing otherwise quite rational people exclaim, much as in the same way they do about Tony Blair for slightly different reasons, that the Lib Dems are finished as a political force.  How easy it is to throw stones and I have no doubt that the Lib Dems have done their share of it over the years, so perhaps that explains the public animosity towards them? 

And yet, there's a petulant refusal it seems, to acknowledge their positive role in Coalition government.  Again the NOTW (paywall) poll on Sunday suggested that a majority favoured the Coalition over either a single Tory or Labour government but at the same time, 73% felt that the Lib Dems would be seriously damaged by Coalition come the next general election.    It's as if we know that something's got to be done, we are prepared to grit our teeth and go along with it but we want someone (other than ourselves and our credit habit) to blame for it - the bankers won't do because they are well insulated by their money, so the Lib Dems with fresh-faced, eager-to-please Mr Clegg will. 

I don't have any answers for the Lib Dems except to say that they have got to see this through.  I suspect that Mr Clegg has already accepted his fate but believes passionately that this is a chance to re-balance the economy and the country, onto a surer footing, thus ensuring the right legacy however damaging politically in the short-term.

In the BM household, we watch as Southwark Labour councillors (3 so far) with either criminal convictions or charges pending (in one case for alleged internet paedophile activity) cling onto power and wonder how times have changed.  A year ago this sort of scandal (and it is) would have sunk the LibDem Council administration without trace but now...well it barely raised a murmur in the local press.  BBC London ran a brief piece and even that failed to gain traction.  Not for the first time BM feels that alls changed...