Saturday, 1 December 2012

Nick Clegg beginning to see the light.

An aptly named Mr Bone MP tried to prevent Nick Clegg's giving a different view to that of the Prime Minister on the Leveson Report, calling it "something that has never happened before in parliamentary history."  Actually he was wrong: it happened in an earlier coalition in 1932, but even had it been true  I'm sure the public is far more interested in politicians giving their honest views than they are of breaches in arcane parliamentary traditions.

Nick's response shows that he is beginning to learn from his earlier mistakes:

"(Mr Bone) still struggles to get coalition . . . .we have a government of two parties that must compromise. That is different to one party governments.  It might lead to anomalies, glitches and innovations in this venerable place that he finds unwelcome.  I suspect it will be repeated a lot in the future."

That's a far cry from the rose-garden love in.  You've been a slow learner, Nick, but now let's hear the distinctive Liberal Democrat voice on the disastrous economic policy and the shameful cuts in welfare taking place, embarrassingly on the 70th Anniversary of the publication of Beveridge Report.

Another thing I, and I expect the bulk  of the public, fail to understand is why the government should spend £5 million or more on an enquiry that they themselves set up and then reject its central finding.  Time and again the press barons have promised to regulate themselves  more effectively and each time self-regulation  failed.  The right-wing papers are screaming that they must remain unfettered in order to be defenders of the freedom of speech.  What they are really defending is their ability to pry into people's private affairs in order to make money out of any salacious gossip they can find.  Legal underpinning of sanctions is necessary to haul them into line.


  1. I am afraid that most people do not understand the arcane arguments about statutory support and precedents, and regard the whole matter as rather abstruse.It provides a field day for journalists to pontificate about the freedom of opinion which they have so severely abused. What was an expedient on Cameron's part to take the heat out of a scandal has now become a grandiose constitutional issue so that the expensive conclusions can be high-mindedly ignored. Coalition implies agreement so that when genuine differences amerge it is bound to fail. It certainly has not done much for the Lib Dem electoral appeal: in the recent by-elections they averaged 4% support. Clegg and Cable must enjoy the shreds of power now for they are certain to lose it at the next general election.

  2. Thanks for your comments, Stuart. I agree with you on the reason for calling the enquiry and the way its findings are being treated but not on your assertion that "coalition implies agreement..." Rather I think coalition implies an arrangement to carry on the government when no party has an over-all majority.

    In spite of the present polls, I suspect that this is likely to be the norm in the future, rather than the exception. Depending on how the electorate votes we could have combinations even more bizarre than the present (Labour/UKIP?). Hence we need to recognise that the conventions of collective responsibility which have in the past applied to one party government (except when Harold Wilson decided to abandon them over the first referendum on Europe) will not necessarily apply when two or even three parties share governments. As I've argued in an earlier post, we need to adopt a more mature form of conducting our affairs, involving public discussion of different views and conclusions on the lines of "We argued for A, they wanted B and we have compromised on C."

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