Monday, 12 December 2011

An Act of Existential Cowardice

Or "Where's Wally", Parliamentary version....

If there is one policy, principle and philosophical stance that used to distinguish the Lib Dems from the other parties it is a firm attachment to Europe. But last week their coalition partner David Cameron pushed the UK dinghy away from the nearer European shores and drifted off on the long Eurosceptic journey to complete separation.Nick Clegg at first agreed and then demurred. "I'm for it.Oh no, I'm agin' it" he said of Mr Cameron's Euro brush off.

Today, when Mr Cameron came to attempt to justify his decision to the Commons, McAvity Clegg just wasn't there.

When Clegg and his party reneged on their cast iron promise to students to oppose rises in student fees it seemed that they had sunk as low as they could go. Not at all.

Now the Lib Dems have abandoned their keystone policy. The party of Europe is silent against the onslaught of the swivel eyed Tory right wing little Englander Euro-nutters. The same Euro-nutters who now believe they have won the day and have destroyed the Lib Dems raison d'etre.

And the leader of that party, the Deputy Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Nicholas Clegg MP, a man who has spent his political life in Europe and fighting for pro-European policies, was too cowardly to even attend the Parliamentary debate. Too afraid to face the well earned contempt of his peers and the derision of his colleagues. Too scared to give badly needed leadership to his party, he ran and he hid. Like a criminal. Like a fugitive.

While other Lib Dems stood and took defeat on the chin, and fought back with what spirit they could muster, their leader was in furtive hiding. He slunk out afterwards and tried to bluster his way through TV interviews without looking too shop-soiled, but he is damaged goods, no leader, and his party is, maybe fatally, wounded.

And what of the coalition? If it gets into trouble, will Nick Clegg stand up for it, for his Tory tormentors, for those who today called him and his party "lickspittles" while he, the brave party leader, cowered in the shadows, unable or unwilling to stand up for himself or his party or their, now tattered and torn, political principles.

1 comment:

  1. Bravey

    Could be said today about Cleggy9and proaly will be)

    The Coalition Government of 1918 onwards really was pretty bad, and it is a discreditable episode in our history that Lloyd George, a great man who came into public life as a great Radical and who, as his later history showed, retained so much of real radicalism in his heart, should at that moment, of all moments, have chosen to hang on to personal power at the price of giving way to the worst elements in the community — only to be cast out by the Tories like an old shoe, when he had served his purpose, killed the Liberal Party, and deceived the working class so thoroughly that they would never trust him again.

    Margaret Cole, in Growing Up Into Revolution (1949)