Thursday, April 22, 2010

How Nick Clegg Sees Britain.

I'm in two minds over the Daily Mail's attack on Nick Clegg.

Describing his remarks about Britain's place in Europe and attitude to World War 2 as a "Nazi slur" is grossly unfair to him. If what he said is a "Nazi slur" then almost any comment that tangentially references the War can be a "Nazi slur". I also don't like the reference to his foreign parentage and marriage which seems gratuitous. Churchill had a foreign mother of course and it didn't seem to affect his love of country.

However Nick Clegg's articles on Britain's role in the world are worth airing as they reveal how he views the world. The first thing to make note of is how unimaginative he is with cliches about the "loss of empire" popping up. He churns out the default positions of Guardianistas in the Guardian yet does so in a patronising tone that suggests that he is bravely challenging the orthodoxy. He does not challenge his opponents positions because he doesn't seem to see any need to actually know what they believe because they are so self evidently stupid. Therefore he simply creates a straw man and knocks it down.

This attitude also infuses the Lib Dems statements about other issues, for example on crime they come out with the canard that prisons are "colleges of crime" and try to pass this off as original thinking that contrasts to their opponents more emotive and irrational positions.

In fact it is almost 180 degrees opposite from the truth, the idea that prison doesn't prevent crime was for many decades the policy of both Conservative and Labour governments but when Michael Howard finally made prison a more likely outcome for criminals, crime fell for the first time in decades. There are counter arguments that can be made against this but Nick Clegg and Chris Huhne can't be bothered to understand the position of their opponents let alone refute them, so instead dismiss it as an emotional spasm that is self evidently stupid.

Dogmatic thinking is never appealing especially when it is presented as being the result of open minded and non ideological policy making.


Matthew said...

‘A misplaced sense of superiority, sustained by delusions of grandeur and a tenacious obsession with the last war, is much harder to shake off. We need to be put back in our place.’

That does describe Nicholas Soames perfectly though.

Ross said...

He does refer to the relative levels of obesity in Germany and the UK so he may have had Soames on his mind when he wrote the article.

Mind you I think Soames is a Europhile.

Matthew said...

I had no idea it was their front page headline. I expect it will backfire badly as it's pretty obvious that Nick Clegg isn't a Nazi.

James Higham said...

Look, Ross, Clegg is doing an almighty con job and that came out in this ludicrous claim that in/out ref was party policy. His bluff's been called on that one as it appears in no manifesto. Not only that but there are tricky little caveats to his current promise.

He and his party are charlatans.