Thoughts on politics and life from a liberal perspective

Friday, 25 January 2013

Is Clegg's problem that he is too honest?

We see it time and time again with Nick Clegg.

He is asked whether he slept with "no more than 30 women" and agrees with the statement (that could mean anything from 1 to 30) and is pilloried for not being serious about politics. He just answered the question!

He apologises for a mistake in pledging before the election to prevent tuition fees going up which in retrospect was an impossible thing to make happen given how many other MPs were elected on a platform where they made no such pledge. He is vilified across the political spectrum and in the media for being weak, inconsistent and duplicitous. He is simply being as honest as he can be.

There have been various other occasions like this and we saw two more examples yesterday:

Firstly Nick Ferrari on LBC grilled him on whether he is likely to send his children to private schools. Clegg answered candidly explaining that he hasn't decided yet, that he hopes to be able to send them to a state school if they can find a suitable one and that his wife will be heavily involved in the decision. Cue derision from the left about how he is adding to his woes by answering this question in this way (he should simply use his kids as political pawns as far as I can tell is the argument) and from other quarters about how he is "hiding behind his wife". Never mind the fact that his position is the same as pretty much any father living in London with a household income in his bracket.

Secondly in an interview for House magazine he questioned the government's approach to capital spending in its early months and conceded that they could have approached things differently. Cue an avalanche of criticism from the media and Labour. He is merely stating the bleeding obvious. Things have not worked out brilliantly in this area. I would far rather have a politician in office admit where they think there have been problems. It gives me confidence they are likely to change tack in response to events rather than blindly ploughing on.

What all these incidents demonstrate is that the constant cry we hear for politicians to "tell the truth" and "give it to us straight" that you hear from media pundits and members of public on phone in shows aren't really true. Clegg is one of the most honest politicians in front line politics today. And yet his very candour is so often used against him.

The only conclusion I can draw is that what we really want is to be lied to.


Anonymous said...

No - too stupid.

Jennie Rigg said...

Your tens advert has surprisingly spelt wrong in it ;)