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Nick Clegg And That Apology

Ahead of Labour's MCR Conference Graham Stringer, MP for Broughton and Blackley, reflects on the lessons of a backfired sorry

Published on September 24th 2012.


Nick Clegg And That Apology

Let’s face it politicians are absolutely hopeless at apologies.

They don’t do them and when they do they are for events for which they weren’t and couldn’t have been responsible. Tony Blair apologised for the Irish potato famine of the mid nineteenth century, Margaret Thatcher similarly for doing nothing about the German invasion of Sudetenland which took place when she was thirteen and Gordon Brown said sorry for the conviction of Alan Turing.

This is like an unfaithful husband apologising for taking marriage vows and not his infidelity but still expecting to philander and keep his partner.

Breaking with precedent the hapless Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the Lib Dems, has got in on the act about tuition fees for which he did have responsibility but he has still got it wrong.

Instead of a full blown mea culpa for voting to treble tuition fees when he had signed a pledge to remove them all together, he has apologised for the promise itself not its breach. This is like an unfaithful husband apologising for taking marriage vows and not his infidelity but still expecting to philander and keep his partner.

The Lib Dems are only registering single figures in the opinion polls leaving it fourth behind UKIP, while his party activists are busy promoting motions of no confidence in him. Nick Clegg’s partnership with the electorate and his party is heading for divorce which is the real reason for this pseudo apology.     

This is the Nick Clegg who during the General Election told the nation ‘it was time to say goodbye to broken promises’. This solemn declaration of a new honesty in politics lasted less than a fortnight, sniffing the intoxicating aroma of power and high office he jettisoned virtually every policy and promise he had made during the General Election.

The health service instead of needing more money he now wanted to privatise and demolish, in fact nothing could make him happier than joining the Conservative’s project to restructure the public sector in favour of capital and profit.

Questioned in the rose garden at Number 10 he was unable to think of any policy disagreement with David Cameron. He became a brilliant exemplar of power not only corrupting but exposing. Clegg wasn’t interested in how to create a fairer society. What he really wanted was a permanent share of the spoils. His big demand during the coalition negotiations was not to help the financial lot of students, they weren’t even mentioned, but constitutional change.

By reforming the House of Lords and changing the voting system he hoped to create hung parliaments in perpetuity; realising the dream of all Lib Dems to be permanently in Government however the electorate voted.

Nick Clegg was self evidently insincere when he aspired to make broken promises history, but even if his sincerity had been beyond reproach the coalition negotiations would most likely have destroyed it. The coalition negotiations between the Conservatives and Lib Dems were by their very nature a conspiracy against the electorate.

The parties having campaigned hard on their manifestos decided that they would create new policies for their own convenience, some of which the electorate had never seen. Secret negotiations between eight people became more important than the dialogue between parties and tens of millions of voters. The coalition agreement became a binding manifesto from which the electorate were wholly excluded.

Graham StringerGraham StringerVince Cable and some members of the Lib Dems think they can remain in government after the next election if Labour is the largest party but without a Commons majority by performing the same trick. Ed Miliband is giving credibility to this notion by letting it be known that he and Vince are text buddies.

I for one am against doing a post election deal with the Lib Dems, who have shown themselves to be enthusiastic in pursuing the Conservatives’ programme. I don’t want to be in an alliance with a party that has spent four or five years helping the rich with tax cuts, attacking the poor and dismantling the welfare state.

I also don’t think Labour should replicate the stage two manifesto process that has characterised this coalition. It is part of a process which is turning the British electorate from sceptical to cynical. It would damage democracy as well as Labour.

Labour MPs should stick as far as is humanly possible to voting for what they say at election time. Clegg’s non apology should be taken for what it is, a calculated move to restore credibility to a pathetic man who is way out of his depth.

Having watched the self destruction of Clegg and the Lib Dems Labour should learn the lesson and not fall into this power trap. The Labour leadership should make it clear now that there will be no cosy deal done with anybody who has been part of this shameful government.     

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10 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

DavidSeptember 24th 2012.

Mr Stringer after what you said about the the Lib Democrats,does that mean you will resign if your party entered coalition with them after the next election?.I would like to bet that you don't do that,you won't do anything that means giving up your well paid job for life.You had the opportunity to stand against Gordon Brown a PM,who you claimed was going to to lose Labour the election,but you would not do it.As that could have led to deselection.

As for Clegg abandoning his pledges and principles when in office,what about your left wing principles from the early 1980s,you conveniently abandoned those did you not?.Of course you will justify it on grounds that it was necessary dealing with a Thatcher government and that you did it for the people of Manchester.That is not very different from Clegg,he has to deal with the political realities of the time like you did.He is a minority in a Tory majority government,which means he will have to make compromises to his previous principles.If not we would have no government or you dear friend Gordon Brown would still be in charge.

AnonymousSeptember 24th 2012.

The benefits of hindsight are wonderful, 2 years back labour would have bitten cleggs hand off for a coalition and would have damned the democratic process just as much as the tories and lib dems did.

the Whalley RangerSeptember 24th 2012.

Apologising for making a promise rather than breaking it was a cracker indeed. I shall remember that one next time I promise to do the dishes. Let's see how that will be received.

With regard to the current coalition government, we must remind ourselves that since the HoL/ boundary reform debacle, there is de facto no longer a coalition. We will see no major decisions jointly taken until 2015, but our country cannot survive only on QE until then - or can it?

The current agreement is further proof of Stringer's theory, that the 'new honesty' in politics was the next promise broken. Expecting Clegg as a leader to last past 2015 - as a return to Europe is clearly imminent - would get you a record return in your local betting shop today. Therefore, little would stand in the way of another coalition deal, should it be required when the day finally comes...

Poster BoySeptember 24th 2012.

'Never apologise' -the mantra of the morally bankrupt...

Poster BoySeptember 24th 2012.

That said, Clegg's apology is that of a desperate failed opportunist, with no courage of his own conviction.

Of course Mr Stringer, no one outside the cosy coalition can accept that a coalition of Conservative and Liberal Democrats, was the populist choice of the electorate. And none of us need any lessons in broken promises from Labour of Conservative politicians do we...?

But Clegg is dead; walking and talking his party into electoral annihilation. His apology nothing more or less than a useless, transparent exercise in cowardly cynicism, to placate his party workers in advance of Conference

Don't worry about Nick though. He'll be all right. He'll have his return ticket for the European gravy train, with his European wife to start a new career in Brussells as a Commissioner; his reward from his Conservative friends for the power he bequeathed upon them...

1 Response: Reply To This...
DavidSeptember 24th 2012.

I find it funny how we all find it do easy to lambast politicians for breaking promises when we all do it.Its called changing your mind.Everyone whoever been divorced,no longer was keeping promises they made to someone once made at marriage ceremony.

DavidSeptember 24th 2012.

It is far too early to say that Clegg is finished,we are still several years of the next election.His fortunes are entirely dependent on what happens to the economy between now and then.
Stringer attacks him for only pushing policies in the coslition that favour the Lib Dem electorally.Yet he ignore the fact they pushed for the raising of tax thresholds that benefit significantly the low paid and for the increases in the overseas aid budgets.Neither of which were Tory policies.
As for political cynicism.None can match Labours.They deliberately sold out their own working class supporters,by allowing a vast increase in immigration which provided a ready source of cheap labour to keep wages down for the working class.Great for all their friends in the City and they expected lots of these new immigrants to vote Labour.

Leon KaySeptember 25th 2012.

Nick Clegg should be strung up by his balls he will be lucky if he can get a Job in Costa after there lies and counter lies As Max Keiser on RT said the politico's are just the butlers to the wankers sorry bankers or as he calls the wankers Bankcrococktacy

1 Response: Reply To This...
DavidSeptember 25th 2012.

RT is a TV station owned by the Kremlin,it is hardly objective about anything.Unless you consider the governments of Iran and Syria to be also bastions of freedom.I bet you probably do unfortunately.
Rhyming bankers with wankers how original.Nick Clegg was not responsible for the regulation of the bankers or for the bailout of the banks.That was your Labour chums.Why don't you try accepting the blame,it was you fools who voted Labour in and it was your government who ruined the economy again.

AnonymousSeptember 26th 2012.

I didn't know man con had a politics section together with its political trolls. It is for a Sky satire called 'Out in the Sticks with Alex and Bob'.

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