Thursday, May 20, 2010
Nick Clegg is a bore- and he's wrong about the state
This piece of mine appears in today’s First Post.
Neil Clark: Clegg is a perfect example of homo politicus - earnest and deadly dull.
Nick Clegg is the man of the moment, the politician who has risen from nowhere to lead the Liberal Democrats into power for the first time in the modern era. What a pity he has turned into such a crashing bore.
Yesterday, our earnest and humourless deputy prime minister outlined his plans to "transform our politics". He was not, he assured us, talking about "the odd gimmick or gesture here or there" to make us feel involved, but "the most significant programme of empowerment by a British government since the great reforms of the 19th century". Wow!
Are you excited? No, me neither.
Part of the problem was the subject matter - constitutional reform is a sleep-inducing topic at the best of times. But a large part is Clegg himself. Firstly, there's the big-headedness. Other politicians have introduced significant reforms in the past - but did any of them make such a song and dance about it as Clegg did yesterday?
Clegg's style is horribly didactic. In effect he is saying, "Listen to me and I will tell you why what I'm proposing is going to be good for you".
Then there's the dreadful earnestness. People are never so silly as when they take themselves too seriously and the Lib Dem leader is a case in point. Apart from a feeble line about wearing a purple tie, yesterday's speech was devoid of humour. Constitutional reform is a very serious matter. Repeat after me.
The problem with Clegg is that the more we see of him the more we realise he is not like the rest of us. Can anyone imagine having a pint with Nick, discussing the FA Cup Final? Clegg is the perfect example of 21st century British homo politicus: earnest, hard-working but deadly, deadly dull.
And is what he is proposing - in his oh so significant reforms - actually such a big deal?
You can read the whole of the piece here:
Meanwhile, you can read here what that nice 'moderate' Vince Cable has in store for the Royal Mail.