Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Guardian attacks Nick Clegg for being consistent

Yesterday, as he has done since his election as leader in 2007, Nick Clegg faced a baying Labour crowd across the Commons at Prime Minister's Questions. The only difference was that rather than putting relevant and perceptive questions to Gordon Brown, Nick was the first Liberal to be answering them at the despatch box since Lloyd George in 1922.

John Bercow chided the Labour benches on numerous occasions but they paid very little attention to him. Nick wryly observed at one point that if the Speaker thought the noise was bad, he should experience it from other there, pointing to where he used to stand to ask his questions.

I am mystified by the Guardian attacking him for a "gaffe" for saying the Iraq War was illegal, saying that this could lead to Britain being indicted in an international court.

Nick's comments yesterday were hardly inconsistent with the position he has always held on this conflict. Every single Liberal Democrat voted against it. If he had suddenly changed his mind, then that would have been news - and the Party would have had something to say about it as well.

We are getting attacked by Labour and its hangers on for allegedly not sticking to our principles within the coalition by agreeing to the VAT rise. We now have it confirmed by Lord Mandelvort that Alistair Darling, Labour's Chancellor, wanted to do the self same thing, making a mockery of their attacks on us.

Now we get attacked for sticking to our principles.  Ridiculous!

I took copious notes from PMQs yesterday but then real life got in the way and I didn't have time to post them. Paul has done a good job anyway, of that, but I thought I'd add a couple of observations.

Jack Straw seemed badly prepared and was completely all over the place, scrabbling to try to find a point towards the end of his exchanges with Nick. I was surprised that he accused us of acquiescing to a marriage tax break. I thought this had been kicked into the long grass. There was certainly no mention of it in the Budget or I would have thrown an almighty strop.

It was new Lib Dem MP and fedgling Party hero Julian Huppert's birthday yesterday. By the way, can we have a Huppert action figure to go along side the David Heath one, please? Anyway, he celebrated by asking Nick what action would be taken to end the scandal of child detention on immigration matters.  This was an easy one for Nick as he described the moral outrage of Labour detaining 1000 children behind bars and that the Government would announce shortly that the family unit at Yarl's Wood would be closed.

Under normal circumstances, that news, great though it is, would have had me jumping for joy but in the light of the threat of deportation hanging over Florence and Precious at the moment, I do feel that our Ministers need to be doing everything they can to stop it. I wouldn't expect or ask for any public statement on the matter from them, but I hope that they are making representations behind the scenes on Florence and Precious' behalf. It's the very least I'd expect of them.

Nevertheless, the end of child detention is fantastic and would not have been achieved without the Liberal Democrats. It is a blow for compassion and humanitarianism and I congratulate our ministers for sticking to their guns.

Something else that amused me was a Tory. I mean, a Tory, for goodness sake, asking what the Government was doing to reduce the gap between rich and poor which had worsened under Labour. Nick replied with the obvious things like raising the tax threshold and the pupil premium. I wonder if having Liberal Democrat bloggers Mark Reckons and Bracknell Blog in the area has rubbed off on this man.

I think Nick did really well yesterday - he really got into his stride towards the end and dealt with a daunting occasion with his customary genuineness and good humour.

1 comment:

dazmando said...

Yeah its so so funny seeing Phillip Lee help Clegg out when he really attacked us during the hustings in Bracknell. I would add that both me and Mark have meet Lee and we have both found him as an alright guy. I think hes getting the swing of it, althought he still a bit green hes learning the robs quite quickly.


Related Posts with Thumbnails