Jan Moir is the Daily Mail hack who got embroiled in the usual self-righteous Twitterstorm etc when she pointed out a few painful facts around the death of Boyzone star Stephen Gately. It may be that her timing was suspect then, but given its quality, precision and laser-guided invective, The Knife is reprinting an excerpt from her magnificent demolition of Nick Clegg from two days ago. This time she got it all just right.
August is nearly here, which means only one thing in political circles. David Cameron has gone on his annual summer holiday, leaving Nick Clegg running the country.Millions might find that a terrifying prospect — but be calm, people.
For the next two weeks it will be business as usual in the empty offices of Whitehall; meaning that Calamity Clegg will not be allowed to make any big or important decisions.And God forbid, but if any national emergency occurred, Superman Cam would be back from Portugal quicker than a speeding bullet. In any case, Downing Street insists that Mr Cameron ‘remains in charge’ — even on holiday.
For this small mercy, many thanks.
Yet despite his lack of authority and the fact that he has absolutely no legitimacy nor democratic mandate, Clegg will be marching around the corridors of power exuding his usual sulky sense of entitlement.
In the meantime, conspiracy theorists have noted that the Lib Dem leader assumes his annual veneer of top seed ranking in the very week that British coastal waters have been invaded by jellyfish.Coincidence? Or have the jelly flash mob come to acknowledge and worship the greatest spineless creature of all?
Clegg in charge? It is ridiculous.
His contribution to politics, to society, to the betterment of British public life is not even a childish doodle in the margin of history. We have become sadly accustomed to Cleggy slouching in his seat at the House of Commons, alternately looking bored or superior — and baleful at any government triumphs.But the truth is that his political tenure over recent years is characterised by a flatline of failed, self-serving initiatives and grand plans that have turned to dust.Since the Coalition was formed, Clegg has somehow managed to alienate absolutely everyone across the political spectrum.He is mocked by Labour and Conservatives alike, while his own Lib Dem supporters will never forgive him for his series of cowardly U-turns on party policy.
And his self-appointed role as Master of Sanctimony within the Coalition means that he is opposed to all sensible policies.This is despite the fact that there is such a thing as collective Cabinet responsibility — something his Lib Dem colleague Vince Cable seems never to have heard of.
For his part, Cleggy wants to annihilate the Monarchy and reduce this country to a colourless republic — yet he still turns up at most important royal shindigs.In all this he is like a teenager who wants to experience every one of life’s excitements — without being burdened by the adult responsibilities that go with them.
It has become increasingly clear that Clegg, who boasts of the success of the Coalition, cannot agree with his Tory colleagues on the major issues of the day, such as immigration, welfare and the EU.His grand plan for the reformation of the House of Lords was a resounding and embarrassing failure.In one major speech he accused British banks of having racist lending policies, warning of ‘barriers preventing black and ethnic minority groups from accessing loans’.A government report, ordered by Clegg himself, this week found no evidence of racial discrimination among lenders. In the meantime, the Lib Dems have unsurprisingly become more unpopular than ever.
To say that, within his party, his credibility is shot is an understatement.
On all sides of the divide, Clegg is seen as a politician who sold out his once so dearly held Lib Dem policies for the illusion of power; a man whose chronic liberal piety on matters large and small cannot cloak the fact that he is morally bankrupt.For his U-turn on university fees in particular, he will never be forgiven. Indeed, his poll ratings are so low that it seems certain he will lose his Sheffield seat at the next election — he has only himself to blame.
It brings a tear to my eye, frankly.