With his admission that he cried, Clegg crossed a threshold from a hate figure into a sad and pathetic one. At the moment virtually everything he touches seems to go down the toilet. The LibDems are heading for a poor result in Scotland. They are currently lying behind the Green Party in 5th place. They are in a similar situation in Wales. Throw in the Local Elections and things could get very heated very quickly in his party. His role as Deputy seems to put him in the firing line without any apparent rewards. Cameron must be concerned about all this negative attention. How much can Clegg and the LibDems take before the coalition glue unsticks? Clegg came from a comparatively comfortable and largely unaccountable role in Europe. It must be appearing ever more attractive as the opprobrium and ridicule mounts.
For example, Cristina Odone writing in the Daily Torygraph, “Nick Clegg must be hoping his interview with the New Statesman, in which he admits to crying over his critics’ attacks, will play well with the electorate. He will hope that the revelation that even his son is asking why Clegg is so hated will pull at heartstrings all over the land.
Think again, Nick. The son of a millionaire banker, educated at Westminster and Oxbridge, weeping because someone called him names, does not elicit sympathy at a time when millions really are worried about insecure jobs, food and petrol prices spiralling, and inflation returning to 1970s levels. Women are unforgiving about “lady men” who weep for themselves: stoicism in the face of hard times is inspiring, but blubbing when your feelings are hurt inspires mockery.” Daily Telegraph 7/4/11
Another ‘Glenda’ writing on the same subject was a little more supportive but went on to quote an occasion when she witnessed Harriet Harman under pressure. It was a time when Labour were in a mess and no other Cabinet Minister wanted to appear on ‘Question Time.’ Harman was booed onto the platform by a distinctly hostile audience, yet she stuck to her guns and gave as good as she got. It would seem very unlikely at present that Clegg will give as good as he gets.
Overriding all this however, is the way the Tories are getting away with it. The NHS plans were not in their manifesto. The scrapping of the Educational Maintenance Allowance was pooh-poohed by Gove before the election. “Sure Start?’ Safe with us squire” ...and so on. They have lied and been duplicitous over numerous issues yet to date little heat has descended upon their slippery shoulders.
Thanks to the Clegg firewall.
A minority Conservative government would have had to be a lot more sensitive to the feelings of the poorest and most vulnerable in our country.