Thursday, 20 September 2012

An Open Letter to Nick Clegg

Dear Nick Clegg,

Like the vast majority of people who care about the future of our country, and indeed the world, I watched your "apology" video to see what you had to say. Naturally, I was left feeling even more disappointed in you than ever. My reasons are thus:

1) Your apology only relates to a single issue. Although it was an issue that is important to many of your voters, it is by no means the only thing you should be apologising for. Making apologies is the very least that you could do, and I assume that this is only the first in a series of videos apologising for your (in)actions on issues such as the NHS, cuts to frontline services, the voting system, VAT, amongst others.

2) You broke your promise on tuition fees nearly 2 years ago. An apology this late in the day is next to meaningless. Why has it taken you so long to apologise?

3) It is only now, when support for the Liberal Democrats (particularly in their current incarnation led by yourself) has dropped to an all-time low, that you have come out and made this apology. It frankly wreaks of desperation.

4) Considering that tuition fees was one of your flagship policies, and that many of your MPs signed a pledge to not vote for a rise in them (including my MP, Don Foster, who represents a city with two universities and a large student population), you did not appear to put up much of a fight, at least not in public. I am therefore having great difficulty in believing that your apology is at all sincere.

5) You say that you shouldn't have had the policy in the first place, as it was likely that you would be in a coalition with either Labour or the Conservatives. What message does this send to the other smaller parties? Should the Green Party therefore drop most of their environmental policies just in case they one day go into coalition with a less green party? You painted yourself and your party as a genuine alternative to "politics as usual", and the one thing you should not be apologising about is having the policy in the first place. Will your next manifesto therefore simply be an amalgamation of Labour and Conservative polices just in case you have to get into bed with one of them following the next election?

6) At no point did you explain what you are going to do (or at least attempt to do) to make amends for your error. How are you going to help students (or for that matter, the rest of the "99%") in the future? An apology does not lower the cost of living, give us jobs, education or healthcare, stop climate change, sort out the economy or make anyone's life better in any way shape or form.


When you were in the position of "kingmaker" following the election results, people trusted you to make the right decision. When you went into coalition with the Tories, it was an unpopular choice - but then so would a coalition with Brown's Labour have been. We expected you to keep a tight rein on them, not the other way around. We expected you to fight for us, not be pushovers having to apologise for not doing anything.

If this were an apology for a battle well-fought, I could accept it. If you had really put your foot down on one, just one, of your flagship policies, the British public might still have an ounce of respect left for you. Believe or not, you still have a chance. Admittedly, it will be harder now, as you have sunk so low in the public's opinion. Stop being a spineless coward and fight for us. SAVE THE NHS, and do not stop fighting until you have done it. Make it your mission, every single day, from the moment you get up to the moment you go to bed. Or be confined forever to the political wastelands.

We don't want any more apologies, Nick. If you fail, it is better to have gone down in a blaze of glory, than to have kept quiet and let the Tories wreck our country.

Standing Stone