Nick Clegg makes his case in a Guardian interview today in which he argues that the coalition “is not an aberration, but a natural consequence of what has been happening for years” as as he uses the interview to defend the cuts and presses the line that they are “not driven by some ideological zeal”.
He find himself able to say this despite consistently arguing that a rush to tackle the deficit after the election could kill any chance of a recovery while failing to convince many that this government is not engaged in “a libertarian push to eliminate large parts of the state under the cover of the “immediate fiscal necessity to restrict it”.
Then listen to him speaking in March before the election where he asked the audience to imagine the reaction to “macho” Tory cuts by his constituents in South West Sheffield, where many work in the public sector, and who have no Tory councillors or MPs – no Tories as far as the eye can see in South Yorkshire, according to Clegg.
Then he condemned such a rapid move to make swingeing early cuts as the tub thumping “old politics”, but now he is in power it is new politics brought to you he tells the Guardian by the most “liberal parliament” in a generation. It sounds more like the politics of convenience.
“We have got a very dramatic push for rebalancing of the statute book away from state authority towards individual liberty. It has been talked about for years and now we are going to get on with it.Arguably, in my view, this is the most liberal parliament we have had in a generation.”
His constituents in South Yorkshire will be checking their eyesight as by all accounts there is in all but name a Tory MP in that part of the country and one who is presiding over cuts to their jobs. The Guardian says in its leader that Labour needs to listen to what Clegg is saying, but that he needs to listen as well. He should state listening to himself.