Is Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg the worst politician in the UK – ever?

I believe it was Virgin Records who used to make a fortune out of those useless compilation records ‘the best pile of old tat in the UK – ever’ or some such.

And Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg (also deputy prime minister of the coalition government) has a lot in common on first sight with Virgin owner Richard Branson – he seems modern and candid and looks OK, until he starts to deal with that devilish thing detail.

And then it all falls apart (Branson, running a privately-owned business doesn’t receive the scrutiny Clegg does).

And now young Nick has done it again, hard on the heels of his ridiculous ‘half sorry about tuition fees’ debacle.

Today he announced on the BBC that the Lib Dems’ were considering abolishing ‘pensioners’ perks’ – winter fuel allowance, free TV licences, bus passes etc because lots of pensioners were quite well off (that is, not stuck in grinding poverty) and some were ‘millionaires.’

This immediately lost him and his party about five million votes, votes the Lib Dems ought to value rather more as they’ve sunk from about 24 per cent in the opinion polls at the last general election to barely ten per cent now.

Following Nick’s latest gaffe we had Lib Dem David Laws, newly reinstalled in the government, bumbling away to the Beeb that punishing pensioners as a whole to get at those receiving huge amounts (like the BBC bosses who run Clegg’s choice of media outlet) wouldn’t actually raise that much money. And it would be a devil of a job to means test all old people to see who was entitled to a perk or not.

Then we had Vince Cable saying through clenched teeth that there was no way Lib Dem policy (in stark contrast to Clegg’s mad ramblings) was going to change before the next election. Vince’s sub-text was that this idiot has to go and go soon, with me to replace him.

Many years ago I used to meet occasionally a rather nice adman called Adrian Slade whose small agency, Slade Bluff and Bigg I think it was called, used to handle the Liberal Party (not that it had any money). Adrian, who I think may have become a Liberal MP later but I’m not sure, used to try to persuade me that the Libs were going to make a big impact at the next election and all that stuff. Which they didn’t because, at the time, they chose Jeremy Thorpe as leader, a chancer who was tried at the Old Bailey for hiring a hit man to kill his homosexual lover (didn’t you know it, the hit man failed and shot the bloke’s dog instead). Thorpe got off thanks to a bravura performance in court by the late George Carman QC.

Now I’m not saying that Clegg deserves to be put in the same drawer as the ghastly Thorpe. But the Lib Dems (as they are now) seemed peculiarly drawn to choosing leaders who bring on them political consequences their (mostly) rather nice and well-meaning followers don’t deserve.

In electoral teems Clegg looks a bigger loser than even Thorpe. The sooner they pack him off to the EU in Brussels (where he once toiled) the better.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.

One comment

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    No he isn’t. Of course he isn’t. But I fear this may be the worst piece of old tat masquerading as journalism ever.