Sunday, 8 May 2011

Has Cameron taken Clegg for a sucker?

Why didn't Nick Clegg see it coming? At the last election the Liberal Democrats were never going to get into power. The Conservatives needed someone to coalesce with. They had a matter of days to negotiate with each other. What did the Liberals want? Proportional representation of course. What did Cameron say? "Look Nick, we will get in bed with you, and guess what? We can have a referendum on the point." What should Clegg have said? "Get stuffed David, you toff. Even I can see that you are trying to pull a fast one." He didn't though did he? 

Nick would trust David you see, because firstly they are nearly doubles - good looking, same height, speak jolly well, fathers were bankers (spelt correctly), and both the product of our fine public schools. Nick went to Westminster, and David went to Eton.

What a lot of people don't know is that Nick also went to Caldicott Prep School in Buckinghamshire from 8 to 13. Caldicott has been the subject of a major police investigation by Thames Valley into allegations of child abuse by a string of male teachers over a number of years. There has been at least one conviction of a master called Martin Carson who went to prison for two years. Not that there is any suggestion that Clegg or Cameron were the subject of any abuse. I act for a victim of another teacher from Caldicott, who was also investigated by the police, charged, taken to court, but allowed to go free, because it was decided that a fair trial could not take place, even though all the victims were willing and able to give evidence - a controversial decision. The plot gets even thicker when one considers that Lord Justice Scott Baker spent 14 years as chairman of the board of governors during the period of the allegations. My client finds the link worrying. He & others are campaigning for a retrial. Anyway, I digress......

What was the con that Clegg fell for? Well we have just had the local elections and the referendum on proportional representation. It was clearly a subject the public knew very little about, and could not make a decision upon. It was an entirely unsuitable subject for a public vote. It should have been dealt with in Parliament after a debate between those that do understand the subject only too well - the politicians of course. The problem is, I suppose, that there is not enough support for an alternative system to get the legislation passed. Cameron could have promised to support the policy, however, and used his whips to get it through parliament. 

What did the some of the Conservatives do? Opposed the "Yes" vote. Cleggie and others were furious. Why? They had been conned of course. Vince Cable, the business secretary described his Conservative colleagues as "ruthless, calculating and thoroughly tribal".  What is more, the media were against the change, and said so in their droves. Murdock didn't like the idea, nor did his papers. The referendum poll stations were not well attended. 

The effect of the lost vote has been to weaken the standing of the Lib Dems even further. If it wasn't bad enough to have turned 180 degrees on the university tuition fees scandal, now they seem to have fallen apart. Disastrous local election results. The Green Party did the best, which probably means we will all have to boil our rubbish in muesli, and mix it with dried fruit before it goes out to the bins. 

Clegg seems to be a puppet in Cameron's hands. It is a shame really, because I think he is quite a nice bloke who talks quite a lot of sense. He is similar in character to the other two - young career politicians. What happened to the likes of Michael Foot, Harold Wilson, and even, dare I say, Margaret Thatcher. Now, they may have been eccentric caricatures, but at least they had personality, and were a lot older than the present array of suits we have to choose from.

So why didn't nice Nick see it coming. It was a con right from the start. "We won't introduce the legislation on AV, but you can have a referendum." Cameron might as well have asked him to go and buy a tin of tartan paint. No way were the public ever going to understand a referendum on an alternative voting system. Most people have trouble understanding how to boil an egg. Most people don't like change, so it is no surprise that they voted to keep things as they are.

Never mind Nick, it won't be long before you lose your seat, and get a job on the buses instead. When nice David looks you in the eyes and sounds convincing, don't fall for it. You will end up eating sandwiches out of a Tupperware box on the No.46 to Bethnal Green.

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