On the 8th of May, 2015, Nick Clegg crawled from what can only be described as a catastrophic, disastrous and devastating calamity. Clegg had thrown none other than himself in front of the oncoming rampaging bull, a.k.a the Tories, to see himself and his party be categorically dismantled. Nick Clegg had secured his place in history on the morning of the 8th of May, as he was now the man that the country would know as being the leader who lead the Liberal Democrats to their worst ever performance in a general election.
49 seats were lost, only 8 had been retained (including Clegg’s own seat in Sheffield Hallam (think of it as a conciliation goal if you like for Mr. Clegg)). Following on from the 2010 election, where Clegg and unequivocally and inconceivably stolen the nation’s hearts (which he had no right to do) with his human, transparent and relatable approach to British politics which had so many of the British public falling at his knees, Clegg is now the scapegoat, the traitor, the liar, the failure, the man who just doesn’t look ‘healthy’ anymore. Not only did the Lib Dems lose 49 seats, but they also lost 15.2% of the vote that they had deservedly held in 2010. On the morning of the 8th of May, the Liberal Democrats now only hold 7.9% of the vote and fall into fourth place behind those delightful gentlemen and women at Ukip.
Clegg was suffocated. Strangled by the Tory government that he had jumped into bed with to form the nation’s coalition in 2010. A one night stand if you will. And in the morning there was no text message from David Cameron telling Clegg that ‘we should meet up again sometime’, for the Tories had had their fun and what Nick Clegg could offer them was no longer necessary.
So why? Why would you volunteer to be suffocated? Why would you tarnish you party by dragging them into a coalition that, quite frankly, was the most devastating and blood curdling blow that the Liberal Democrats have ever seen. Why then, why, why should Nick Clegg be remembered fondly? He propped up an insufficient Tory government, sold his beliefs, and perhaps worst of all, he traded in the votes that his party had gained from the British public in order to spend a night with Mr. Cameron.
But that, that is exactly why Nick Clegg should be remembered fondly.
Nick Clegg did what an excruciatingly small amount of politicians, or even just anyone, would not do. Nick Clegg chucked himself in front of the bull, he laid himself out to be trampled on, and he knew it was going to happen. You see Nick Clegg would have known that the coalition he formed in 2010 would see his career as a politician be dismantled, Clegg knew that his name would be tarnished forever, but he did it, he did what he did for the British public. He went where very few would ever go, he sacrificed himself for us, the people of Britain.
‘What did he actually do?’ – ask so many of the British public. Just what did Nick Clegg achieve as deputy prime minister?
Nick Clegg not only played a major role in the advancement and awareness and care for those with mental illness’ but he was a major player in allowing British people to have the right to marry those of the same gender, in pushing through same sex marriage, Nick Clegg was, if you like, the ‘MVP’ (ask your kids) and without him in bed with the Tories perhaps we may not have same-sex marriages right now.
Further Clegg was instrumental in influencing the Tory government to raise the income tax threshold to £10,000.
Nick Clegg claims that he blocked 16 Tory policies during his time as deputy prime minister. Most noticeably changes to education that Michael Gove tried to push through. These include Gove’s plans to revive O levels, along with wanting to introduce profit making state schools and perhaps most bizarrely Gove wanted to stop Geography teachers informing children at school of how to prevent climate change. All blocked. All blocked by Nick Clegg and his selfless Liberal Democrat party. Other policies that Clegg claims to have blocked include the ditching of the human rights act (which now looks like it could actually happen with Clegg having vacated Cameron’s king size water bed (c’mon don’t try and tell me that David Cameron doesn’t have a water bed, if ever I’ve seen a ‘water bed person’ it’s David Cameron)). Clegg also claims to have blocked a policy which would have allowed employers to fire employees at will with no reasons needed to be given. All of these, and many more, Clegg claims would have been passed if it was not for the tireless and selfless Liberal Democrats.
I’m only 18 years old. I’m attending University in September and Nick made a promise to me five years ago. He promised that the Liberal Democrats would not support any policies that would raise tuition fees for students. He lied. Sometimes you have to lie to get into bed with someone, and that is exactly what Nick Clegg did. Did I hate him for it? Yeah, for a bit at least.
But there is something about Nick Clegg for me.
Now as mentioned previously I am only 18. Therefore I have lived quite a sheltered and short life in terms of the British politicians and governments that have been around during my life span. I’ve few memories of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown and any opinions I had of them at the time were only ones that echoed my fathers. The 2010 election was what really grabbed me. I can remember sitting in a school assembly where they were explaining to us what a coalition government was, I already knew however as I’d stayed up the previous night (against my parents’ wishes) watching Nick Robinson use many phrases and terms that I had (and probably still) absolutely no idea what they meant, but I got the general gist. Since then I’ve spent a great deal of my time reading and learning about British politics (it was only now that I was starting to get the full picture of who Gordon Brown and Tony Blair were and I was starting to wonder if me and my father had been discussing the same people).
Now let me bring this back to Nick Clegg. For you see Nick Clegg is the only British politician that, during my life-time at least, has really appealed or spoken any sense to me. I respect Ed Miliband a lot as a person but not as politician. I have grown an enormous amount of respect for Gordon Brown and the situation that he was thrown into, but I don’t really identify myself with his ideology.
Nick Clegg however, he just had what so many didn’t. He was human. To this date there has not been any other British politician that has really captured my support as Nick Clegg had. He was transparent (despite the whole uni fees debacle) and appeared to actually be a fair representation of ‘proper’ and ‘real’ British people.
I believe Nick Clegg will and should be remembered in a far better light as time goes on. He sacrificed his own name, his own reputation and the respect that he had done so well to achieve. He sacrificed it for the English people.
Maybe he was wrong to drag his party with him? Maybe he should have been more calculated as to how he would be remembered for entering into Mr. Cameron’s bed chambers. But at the end of the day Clegg had a decision to make. He could either abstain from entering into bed with the Tories and uphold his name, but in the meanwhile give the Tories the free reign to do what they want, or, he could stick by his principles and have his name tarnished forever. Nick Clegg sacrificed the respect that his name carries, but instead stuck by his principles as a decent human being.
History favours the brave, and Nick Clegg will be favoured by History. I sincerely hope that there are more Nick Cleggs out there, because we really could do with them.
Let me leave you with a rather crude joke that has been circulating the internet; “For the Tories have been f*cking us for five years now, but they have been f*cking us with the condom which is the Liberal Democrats. Now the condom is off, and now you will see, now you will feel, how it feels to be properly F*CKED.”
Now I want to hear YOUR opinions. What do you thing think of Nick Clegg? -and why? Either leath a comment below or get in contact with me on twitter – @BillyBlogged – and join in with the ever growing discussions that we here at this community have!