Wednesday, 26 March 2014
I'm backing Nick
Nick Clegg goes head to head this evening in a debate on the European Union with Nigel Farage. Regular readers of this blog will know that I'm not particularly enamoured by Liberal Demcorats' performance in government. However I do not hold Nick particularly culpable for our inadequacies. Rather I think he has and is being badly advised.
I suppose that's a convenient excuse for the poor performance of any organisation when one wants to remain loyal to the leader, but it has some credence. Even Ming Campbell, an experienced and sage former leader not prone to scaremongering, has revealed that he felt Clegg surrounds himself with too many youngsters without real experience.
Regarding tonight's debate I cannot think of anyone better qualified than Nick to take on Farage and his xenophobic nonsense. It should be an interesting debate. Both,in their different ways are engaging personalities able to establish rapport with an audience. Both are well informed, Clegg, in my view, with the truth, and Farage with material to support his prejudices. I anticipate Clegg will "win" hands down.
I do not expect this debate to have much effect on the results of the European election: most people won't be listening. For that matter neither shall I, as this debate is broadcast only in London, but I'm hoping to be able to catch it on You-tube or some other miracle of modern communications.
The stunning victory I anticipate will probably not do much to improve the Liberal Democrats' standing in the polls. But I hope it will provide a boost to Nick Clegg's self confidence. He has received far more than his fair share of opprobrium. It's no excuse, I know, but we are not the first political party to break an election promise and sadly we probably won't be the last.
But on this wicket he's batting for a policies and principles on which Liberal/Liberal Democrats alone in British politics have an unblemished record. So go to it, Nick: I look forward to paeans of praise tomorrow morning.