An enlightening & happy encounter

by superadmin on 7 June, 2012

The papers like to vilify Clegg… or ignore him. Individual voters, even Liberal Democrat ones, sometimes try to hold him personally accountable for what they see as bad policy from the Coalition. Last night, I and 80 others, spent an hour with him, asking questions and getting a close up, relaxed view of the man.

Before going to the meeting, it had already struck me that he does have an impossibly difficult job, and his acute understanding of his complicated position really came across when meeting him. He is a straight-down-the-line, no-nonsense, strong and principled Liberal Democrat, and he is fighting as such for our ideals and the policies we believe in, right at the heart of government. He is also DPM in a Coalition and, as such, has a huge responsibility to keep the Coalition together and strong. That explains why so many Liberal Democrat policies are coming out as Government policy, but why, at the same time, Clegg is seen as weak. He fights hard, but quietly… and he gets results.

He is also a brilliant public speaker, with a firm grasp of principle and able to frame ideas so neatly and uncontroversially that we could all learn a lot from time spent with him – I wish he could canvass for us, around here. What really came across is the faith he has in party activists and the public at large. He believes everyone understands what Coalition government is about, and that to make an issue over it is only something for those in political spheres. There are coalitions all the time on the continent, and he believes it is a form of government that is here to stay. I wish he was right about the understanding, but I’m not sure. As for whether it is here to stay, I think Liberal Democrats should celebrate that as an idea – we are a pragmatic, information-based party, and we don’t have too many ideological sticking points as long as liberty is preserved and all is done to eradicate poverty.

He also has great faith in the people who go out knocking on doors and talking to people. He really does believe that the more we go out and speak to people the more they will believe in what he is doing and what we are about. I hope he’s right… and the only way to find out is to try.

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