Monday, August 30, 2010

Alibhai-Brown on Blair and Clegg

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown is a commentator and sometimes Dateline London broadcaster who, as this weekend, I sometimes watch and read with sometimes open-mouthed incredulity at the sheer plodding predictability of her nineteen-seventies left-wing views. This morning in The Independent however she puts her finger on something about Nick Clegg that I have been hinting at on this blog for the past few weeks. The article concludes as quoted below, but it may be read in full from this link. "What he (-editor's note Tony Blair...) told us was expedient and increasingly unbelievable. (There is a name for this mental condition – mythomania: the compulsion to embroider the truth, engage in exaggeration or tell lies.)

"Such degeneration befalls many of the powerful who then cast themselves as misunderstood saviours. John Quincy Adams, the sixth President of the USA (1767- 1848) wrote: "Power always thinks it has a great soul and vast views beyond the comprehension of the weak and that it is doing God's service when it is violating all his laws." Is there any more pithy and exact description of Blair and the perils of high office?

"Which brings me to our times and another fresh-faced, youngish politician, full of promise and good hope, eloquent and different. Something about him, particularly in the live TV debates, awakened the old hopes in many voters on the left. I speak of Nick Clegg, Deputy PM, a role thrust upon him and which he has taken to rather too well. Never again will I be as naïve as I was in 1997 – politics is a dirty business and requires much patience, surrender and compromise. But unease is creeping in.

"Like Blair with Bush, so Clegg seems to be with David Cameron, too flattered now that he is in the big room with the most powerful people. He no longer seems himself. Nor does Vince Cable. Both are undoubtedly holding back the most rabid Tory ideas, and there is no need yet to give up on them. (If only they would tell us more of the Lib Dem effect on policies.) But there is a glint in their eyes that reminds me of Blair on the turn when he became impatient with critics and refused to engage with public opinion. Perhaps they should read about Blair's journey – it may well save them from taking the same treacherous road and help save our faith in politics.



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