Friday, April 16, 2010

The false dawn of Nick Clegg

I've just finished watching the various post debate TV shows and I have to agree with the headline consensus - Nick Clegg put on a good performance.

He was able to play his clearly planned attempts to make the audience his friend trick, and of course variations on the plague on both your houses traditional Lib Dem ploy.

Nick Clegg is clearly more of the used car salesman than either of the other two party leaders, and its clear he won the battle of style.

However, as always with the Lib Dems, the Achilles heal is substance.

Nick Clegg deployed the Lib Dems plans to sacrifice defence of the UK and its independent status by surrendering a capable nuclear deterrent. ( Though the adding St Petersberg to Moscow on the British Nuclear doctrine is a nice tough, but a clearly pre-scripted one that all Lib Dem spokespeople have been using for a few days. ) Lib Dems not - having nuclear weapons and a sufficient deterent aren't the same thing.

Lib Dems will moan that they aren't unilateralists - but I have yet to hear an alternative that meets the requirements of Trident which are to ensure your enemies of their inevitable nuclear destruction if they attack the UK with nuclear weapons. ( You can stop banging on about Astute class submarines with cruise missiles Lib Dems because by the time you create the necessary capability it will cost more not less. )

The Lib Dems are also very dishonest about the profile of the costs for a Trident replacement - which will be a small part of the defence budget over many years. - citing the overall cost as they do is very misleading (and you have to assume that they are trying to pull the wool over the public's eyes on this as its so blatant). If you think we need to cut back on defence then the obvious candidates are the RAF and the new carriers, but none come without consequence.

Lib Dems should remember that nuclear capable supersonic bombers come to the edge of UK airspace on a regular basis even now.

And then there's the deficit. Nick Clegg made some welcome noises about the full impact of Labour's financial road crash and debt disaster not being recognised by this campaign. However they then went on to shower spending pledges and give tax bribes without focus ( unlike the Conservatives NI ideas which are very focuses on jobs and growing the economy ).

The hope for the Lib Dems is that they won't get much scrutiny on their polices or the fact that in much of the country they try to run as a proxy Labour party. Here in Woking the Lib Dems are the ones who campaign for more spending all the time - though being the Lib Dems it doesn't stop them trying to claim they would tax less.

The question is will there be time and sufficient attention to get to the bottom of these issues, or will the superficial Lib Dem positions survive through lack of scrutiny ?

This should prove to be a false dawn for Nick Clegg, caused by his luck on being able to deploy short sound-bites without consequence. However it will make it harder for the Lib Dems to replace him after the general election, and that may be the lasting legacy.

1 comment:

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Well, I haven't seen the debate over here but I think we should indulge Nick and let him have his moment of glory. He's not likely to get another, after all, and it must be horrid when the Commons empties every time you get up to speak!