Saturday, September 03, 2016

Nick Clegg's interview in the Guardian this morning

The Nick Clegg who comes through in Simon Hattenstone's interview in the Guardian this morning is the one we all know: ingenuous, likeable and a little impatient with criticism.

My chief thought after reading it is that there is something to be said for having wide political experience, and experience of life, before you become a party leader.

As David Starkey once observed in between the academic bitchery, Clegg and David Cameron had both studied the Tony Blair playbook closely, but there was nothing in it about what to do during an economic crisis.

Anyway, I am going to do something we did often in the early days of blogging: recommend that you read another blog.

On Liberal Democrat Voice you will find a post by Caron Lindsay, historically a Clegg fan but with criticisms to make today, and a growing comments thread.

One final thing. The Guardian prints an extract from Clegg's forthcoming books in which he expresses his fears for a future in which "every youthful misdemeanour is recycled on social media for ever."

I do hope he does not have Lord Bonkers in mind:
The pride and joy of my gardener Meadowcroft is his collection of rare hairy cacti. He gathers them from the arid south of Rutland and tends them in the way that a particularly attentive she wolf looks after her whelps. 
I well remember his fury when a young whipper-snapper from Westminster School burnt down the glasshouse where he keeps them. My first reaction was to hand the lad over to the Proper Authorities, but learning that he was some sort of nephew of my (how shall I put it?) old friend Moura Budberg, I relented and dealt with the matter myself. I informed the errant youth that he would work for Meadowcroft until he had made full and proper restitution for the loss of the aforementioned prickly crop. 
Over the years Nick Clegg (for it was he) has had himself elected to the European Parliament and the Commons, but he still comes to the Hall regularly to do odd jobs. (What with compound interest and the strength of the Rutland pound, debts can take a long time to pay off.) 
This afternoon Meadowcroft and I find Clegg perched on a garden seat writing a speech. “Never mind being a scholard,” says my favourite horticulturalist, belabouring him with a broom, “get out and sweep up they leaves.” “I think Clegg has just left his comfort zone,” I observe as he rushes out to work in the garden.

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