I'll be honest. I don't like Nick Clegg. He fronts a party that misled people before the election as to what would be done after. On the economy, there was a view about some growth and necessary cuts. In government, they swallowed the Tory line and it could lead us to a second recession. But of course the biggest about face was the student loans. I listened to his speech live and the rubbish of it here is not how easy it is to pay but the sheer weight of debt people are expected to carry for having gone to university. How is anyone supposed to get a mortgage if they already have heaps of debt?
That speech probably made the best of a very bad job. But there was something else in his speech. I'm a social liberal, and it is important to me that the party was named the Liberal Democrats. In fact I wanted that name, an obvious name, when they were called the Social and Liberal Democrats. But in that speech he referred to liberals, not Liberal Democrats. This is a worrying sign of relabelling. If he ditches the social democrat side of liberalism, then he is saying that the liberalism he wants is individualistic and closer to economic liberalism alone. The last economic liberal in power full on was Margaret Thatcher. Now his liberalism includes more in the way of ladders, but is it only ladders to economic liberalism? Do really social liberals now have to vote Labour?
As for staying on and on, does he not realise that he is toxic? His leadership should die with the coalition. Once the coalition folds, he folds too. Otherwise the electorate will simply ask, why should we believe him? If he really believed in his party, and hasn't gone native in the government, he would agree to get out at the end.
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