Others, however, have wholeheartedly joined in the Clegg Abuse. We think this is a mistake; below, Neil Ackerman, one of our new Guest Bloggers explains why. - AJ
When David Cameron responded to the fact he had named Nick Clegg as his favourite joke, I don't think even he realised how right he was. Most of the anger aimed in demonstrations over the past year seems to have been aimed at the best joke Cameron ever told. While yes, the feeling of betrayal from Lib Dem supporters may be justified; and yes, promises have been solidly broken; and yes, Nick Clegg has made some monumental judgement errors, where is the criticism of Cameron?
There are people asking questions of him, and since Nick Clegg pulled on his big boy pants and disagreed with him over AV I think this will continue and grow. However, it does seem that most of the questions that Cameron and co. should be answering are being directed towards the Lib Dems and Clegg. Cameron should not be under-estimated; he is exceedingly clever. He has made a man who seemed weak and naïve, but kinda cute, into a man who seems weak and naïve but no longer cute. Clegg is now a dangerous and evil liar who must be stopped. For a young generation claiming to be politically savvy, we have fallen for the most basic trick in the book: “he did it”.
But Clegg didn't do it. Cameron is behind the cuts, Cameron raised tuition fees, Cameron is making changes to education that will damage social mobility for decades to come. Guess what, we're falling for it again, the most basic tricks in the book. He is waving the hand puppet of Clegg manically while quietly doing everything that matters with the other hand. Anyone who's ever done any kind of basic magic trick knows how misdirection works; and as I said earlier, Cameron is not to be under-estimated. He and those behind him are masters at magic tricks and have found the perfect misdirection instrument for us in Clegg.
It can't be assumed that in the next election all the disgruntled Lib Dem voters are going to go with Labour and that the Tories are going to go crashing out with a nationwide yell of “Jenga!”. Recent local council elections in England showed that the Tories are getting Lib Dem votes too. Labour made themselves incredibly unpopular, so the three main parties are all in the dog house. The Tories just haven't been in power long enough to be in there properly, so what's to stop much of the Lib Dem vote going to the Tories? Sitting in Scotland the whole idea of doing that seems unrealistic, but England is not Scotland, and Scotland's vote doesn't particularly matter in Westminster as can be made obvious by looking at the election map.
But Clegg made it all possible, right? No. If the Lib Dems hadn't formed the coalition with the Tory party, a coalition made up of Labour and all the independents and smaller parties would have been so weak it wouldn't have lasted a week. The Lib Dem choice took many, including myself, completely be surprise and many, including myself, were very angry. However, if you were in Clegg's boots, what would you have done? Suddenly you have the chance to be in power, a thing beyond your wildest dreams on the run up to the election. A very seductive Cameron says you can get your AV referendum, and after support from some big names and players over the election campaign you feel cocky. Also, if you're Clegg, you've probably not slept in 48 hours. A few months in and you realise the winning feeling you had at the start has just turned horribly Charlie Sheen.
I'm sure we can all remember going to a party when we were kids: parents have gone away for the week, it's summertime so nobody has school, the person you fancy is going and you just bought some snazzy new jeans. Everything is going well. Suddenly you realise nobody has any alcohol and nobody is old enough to actually buy any. What do you do? You find someone who either has fake ID or who is old enough to buy alcohol and phone them pretending to be their best friend. An hour later they arrive like a hero returning from a Spartan war with their shield of clinking carrier bags. Everybody makes awkward conversation with them for about half an hour before ignoring them. Suddenly the unsuspecting buyer of the alcohol realises nobody actually likes them at the party; they have just been invited to make the whole thing possible. They then spend the rest of the night watching a bunch of kids have fun then vomit all over one another.
Clegg is now a lonely figure in a dark corner of a party that he shouldn't have been invited to in the first place. All the while he's digging a grave for his party with a shovel bought for him by his “new best friend” Cameron, tied in a pretty blue ribbon. Little does he know that when the parents get back and find their best vase broken and their child in hospital with alcohol poisoning, he's the one who's getting the blame.