Nick Clegg’s conference car-crash….
Of course, nobody reading this would expect me to like Nick Clegg’s closing speech to the Liberal Democrat conference. However, I was struck by the barrage of criticism it received on Radio 5 Live. It was condemned as “lackluster” and the “worst speech given be a Party leader ever” by another listener. John McTernan pretty much hit the nail on the head on the Daily Telegraph‘s website:
Smug, self-satisfied, self-justificatory, deluded. Most leader’s speeches to their own party are at heart narcissistic and self-indulgent – it’s not about you, it’s about me. But Nick Clegg’s speech took this to another level.
It was a frankly sickening exercise in self-congratulation by a man who has nothing to congratulate himself over. He reeled off the list of non-achievements with a misplaced sense of fierce pride; for example, Clegg claimed child detention of asylum seekers has been ended – if this is so, why has a new family detention center recently opened in Sussex? You see, this is what annoys about Clegg, and the Liberal Democrat Party in general – the smug, self-satisfied and completely unjustified sense of moral superiority to the rest of us.
So, when Nick Clegg implies the Liberal Democrats have never been funded by vested interests, one wonders how he views the bankrolling of the Party by convicted fraudster Michael Brown. Incidentally, the Lib Dems, under Clegg refused point blank to return the stolen money to Brown’s victims. Talking of money, Clegg’s scathing attack on Labour’s economic record might carry more moral authority if his own record in government was a little better. Our country is ravaged by high unemployment, soaring inflation and a still growing deficit yet all Clegg can do is carp about Labour’s time in office. If only he put as much effort into persuading his Conservative puppet-masters to stop piling forward towards the edge of an economic abyss faster than a lemming on speed he might finally actually achieve something to be genuinely proud of.
In his remarks Clegg said “Labour should never be trusted on the economy again”, something that seems to indicate he wouldn’t consider a future coalition with us. A momentary pause is perhaps appropriate to consider the irony of Mr Clegg lecturing us on the finer points of “trust”. Clegg’s denounciation is however fantastic news for Labour. It’s a bit like Lucrezia Borgia cordially informing you she won’t be attending your dinner party. The response of the radio listeners above shows how toxic the Clegg brand has become – we should have nothing to do with it, or the discredited Party he leads.