Week 29: Villain – Nick Clegg

by Ray_North on July 21, 2013

villain_2_iconThis week’s Villain is the Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the Liberal Democrats Nick Clegg MP.

As anyone who has read any of my pieces on this website will know – I feel a profound sadness at the way in which the Liberal Democrats have acted in coalition: the u-turns on supposedly important policies; the total support that they’ve given to the Tories as they have pursued their Thatcherism; the cavalier attitude they’ve displayed towards those who voted for them; the way in which power has seemingly become more important than principle.

Nick Clegg has been awful. His political judgement has been so wayward that it almost appears as though he as purposely killed off his own party. He has jettisoned so much that the heart of his party has been lost and with it the voters that it needs to maintain any kind of influence in our nation’s politics.

He has been our villain before, and this week he has reinforced his villainy with his announcement about plans for ranking 11 year old children according to their ‘academic attainment’. Clegg suggests that this will somehow improve the education of primary school children – an assertion that leaves me scratching my head – how can branding a child a failure at the age of 11 improve their academic opportunities? How can the pointless exercise of comparing different children from different social and economic locations with different backgrounds and different, but, changing and developing skills and talents help make schooling better?

To me, it seems like one of those pointless education policies made by desperate politicians who are influenced by witless businessmen who believe that if you treat everything like a commodity it will somehow lead to success. It doesn’t. They miss the point. In fact I’m not sure that they even care about the point, which, surely, is the unleashing of the talents inherent in every child.

In 1997, I was proud to be the Lib-Dem Senior Researcher as we mounted an election campaign that had as its intellectual thrust the partnership between state and individual and the pursuit of equality of opportunity. Nick Clegg has forgotten this campaign and he has moved his party away from caring, thinking, social democracy and into a party which is Conservative in everything but name.

He is a Villain.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Mike Killingworth July 22, 2013 at 7:26 am

Clegg won’t mind, Ray. Restoring the 11+ is simply shooting the UKIP fox & is really about sustaining house prices rather than an education policy.

More generally, since Blair re-positioned Labour on the old S.D.P. territory (or even points rightwards) and the Tories were all Thatcher’s children there was clearly a case for a LibDem leader to adopt “one nation” Toryism.

By the way, did you vote for him as Party leader?


Ray_North July 22, 2013 at 8:55 am

Do you know Mike, I honestly can’t remember – I left the party in around 2007 , so may not have voted – though in a contest between Huhne (who I’ve worked with) and Clegg (who I don’t know at all) – I probably would have gone for Clegg (sigh).


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