Monday, April 16, 2012

Lord Bonkers' Diary: A reply to two Nick Cleggs

The new issue of Liberator is on its way to subscribers, so it is time to spend some more time with Rutland's most celebrated peer.

This time is Diary is devoted to answering questions from his readers. Here are the first.

“In 2010, I told the prime minister that his Health Bill was probably OK and I’d support it, but I didn’t read it properly first as I got bored after the first 50 pages. I now find that it is about as popular as a return to the use of leeches in medical practice. Can you advise me?” – Mr NC, Sheffield Hallam

“I keep getting mixed up between two of my jobs, Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the Liberal Democrats. Before Christmas, as DPM I defended David Cameron’s performance in Brussels and then as Lib Dem Leader I attacked it. This month in the cabinet, I supported the NHS Bill unamended and then as Lib Dem Leader I signed a letter with my friend Shirley asking everyone to support the amendments.” – Mr NC, Sheffield Hallam

Now look here: you cannot both be the real Nick Clegg. I don’t know which one of you is playing the giddy goat, but it must stop at once. As to your questions...

NC1: Yes, the bill was Rather Hard Work. My custom when I can’t stay awake past page 3 of a new piece of legislation is to see which way the most blinkered Socialists in the House are voting and then head for the opposite lobby. This has served me well over the years. As to leeches, I gather that they never quite went out of use: to this day, there are eminent surgeons who believe them quite the thing for safely removing congested blood from a wound – and that is not just at the Oakham Royal Infirmary, where I admit news of the latest advances in medical science can be slow to arrive.

NC2: This ‘coalition’ business can be confusing, can’t it? Only the other day, I was planning a raid on the lands of a neighbouring Conservative when my Bailiff respectfully asked if we weren’t meant to be on the same side now. I replied that he was Putting Things Too Strongly, but I did later issue orders for a lesser grade of explosive to be used.

My own judgement is that, if you can convince people you are on both sides of every important question that faces the country, then you may well have a future in the political game. If you really are the one who is Nick Clegg, of course.

Lord Bonkers was Liberal MP for Rutland South-West 1906-10.

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