When I read "The Rise of the Political Class" and "The Rise of Political Lying" by Peter Oborne, my first impression was that here was a writer/journalist for whom one could have some respect - and then he joined the Telegraph. It is said that we all, eventually, find our station in life - but I digress. Peter Oborne's op-ed piece in today's edition of the Telegraph is unbelievable in its 'arse-licking' content - and in that context the heading of this post is most pertinent.
"Clegg is hated – despised is perhaps a better word – because he is thought to stand for nothing and has allegedly betrayed the men and women who voted for him."
Hated for his 'U' turn on tuition fees, but no more guilty than Cameron who presented himself and his party as Eurosceptic when, in fact, they are anything but.
"It is time to come to the defence of this beleaguered politician. The first and least important element concerns that pledge to abolish tuition fees. The charge made by critics that Clegg broke his word is wrong – it would only be valid if the Lib Dems had won the general election. But they came third, meaning that they were forced to enter a coalition government with the Conservatives."
Why is anyone 'forced' to come to the aid of Clegg, or any other LibDem/Tory come to that? Clegg did break his word on tuition fees - as did Cameron on Europe - both made statements containing 'cast-iron' guarantees and both have broken them. Does Oborne not believe in principle and honour - to coin a phrase: 'my word is my bond'? Clegg and his party were not forced to enter a coalition government, they fell for the Cameron 'sales-pitch', coupled with the lure of power. It would have been more honourable for Clegg - and Cameron/Brown - to have requested a second general election. After all, what is good for the EU must be good for the UK, according to the political beliefs of both Cameron, Brown and Clegg.
"The key point is that Clegg did not attain these victories by standing up as a man of principle. On the contrary: he attained them by entering the worldly, pragmatic and sometimes sordid world of coalition politics."
Exactly, Clegg is not a man of principle - obviously. Like the majority of politicians he is more at home in the sordid world of politics, where principles count for nought.
"That is why I believe that Clegg is an honourable and strong politician, who has acquitted himself with shrewd judgment and considerable courage. His problem is that his kind of political courage does not fit easily with the British national narrative. This involves a man of principle standing alone against the crowd: Churchill against the appeasers; Thatcher defying the unions."
'Honourable'? 'Strong'? 'Courage'? I believe that the British people would respect a man of principle - and one who is honourable - witness the contempt in which modern politicians are held. Why is it that someone like Enoch Powell is still held in such high regard - and not just by those who were alive during his period as an MP - but also by those who have studied politics?
As the Telegraph has sunk in the world of journalism, so has Peter Oborne - which is why they are a marriage made in print!