Although I'm sure I slip now and then I'm very unkeen on the demonisation of individuals in politics. It always seems to play into a tribal and unthinking approach, where the baddies do bad things because they're bad and, because we oppose them, all things we do are somehow by definition good, even when they're counter-productive or rubbish.
|Clegg: second from left|
Last week he was interviewed by Jemima Khan and the man was unable to tell the truth about even the simplest matters. When asked about his personal relationship with his boss, David Cameron, he said “We don't regard each other as mates and actually I don't think it would be a particularly healthy thing if we tried to become personal mates".
What a thing to say about one of your work mates? Especially when you've said you don't disagree with them on anything. No wonder the Tories are annoyed at the way the Lib Dems seem to be attacking their coalition partners even whilst agreeing with all of their policies.
However, on hearing that Clegg has a purely business relationship with the big man and thinks getting close to him would be unhealthy, she expresses surprise and asks don't they play tennis together? Clegg replies "No, no – well, er, I think we've played one game of tennis. Of course we meet from time to time but it's always basically to talk about what we're doing in government."
What an oily little tic. Disowning his friends in public because he thinks they might make him unpopular (note to Clegg: Cameron is more popular than you, not less), pretending he only meets them for work and then when he's pulled up on it his first instinct is to deny it. Only when he realises he could easily be caught out lying does he change tack and own up.
These little things are the mark of what kind of man someone is. There are no two politically closer individuals in politics than Nick Clegg and David Cameron - at least have the honesty and integrity to stand with your friends, even if everyone else thinks you're an idiot for it.