Thursday, November 1, 2007

Mr Clegg takes a stand

Mr Clegg may be youthful and, in my opinion, would benefit from a period as Chancellor before seeking the highest mantle of state. I am advised he musters considerable support from the ranks of our great party.

It is therefore welcome that he has staked out the high ground of moral principle in opposing further restrictions on the liberty of our citizens. We spent much of my century seeking to turn back the tide of arbitrary justice which had been vested in local squirearchies, leading to considerable oppression of the common people.

Now the power of oppression appears to be vested in uniformed militia. It is outrageous that a person should have to account to the state for going about their lawful business.

So Mr Clegg proposes to resist the imposition of electronic identity papers on the population. And quite right too although I would prefer that, as a legislator, he would prevent the imposition rather than waiting until the legislation is enacted to offer resistance. It is disturbing indeed if the population has become so terrified of the unknown that it should vote for such measures.

Now I should mention Mr Clegg's opponent, Mr Huhne. A gentleman of some wisdom has suggested that Mr Clegg is a man of few words or indeed is reticent in ideas. The same does not need to be said of Mr Huhne, who has honoured us with words that are indeed worthy of a Liberal Prime Minister. A brief perusal suggests there are many worthy notions here although I do propose a longer period of study before commenting in detail. Mr Huhne has spoken in particular on defence and foreign policy. He favours a policy independent of our Atlantic cousins and a restriction of spending on wasteful devices of destruction. There is indeed much that remains admirable in the modern Liberal party when its leaders continue to hold the high ground. I fear they are yet to face the challenge of maintaining such an elevated position whilst conducting the affairs of state, although, as I frequently reminded our young sovereign, such a stance is entirely possible.


rob's uncle said...

Which candidate is more likely, in your opinion, to bring us what we desire: "peace, retrenchment and reform"? I refer to your excellent speech the other night speech at the Foresters Hall in Dalkeith [on Novmber 26th 1879.].

WEG said...

Indeed, thank you for your kind reference to my utterances on that notable occasion. So many of my words remain so apposite in these perilous times.

Your question I fear must be answered in several parts. As I suggested earlier, Mr Huhne has spoken in depth on matters of international concern and both gentlemen would, I have little doubt, lead a party that remains committed to the matters to which you refer. Mr Clegg perhaps is more inclined to devote time to matters of populist concern rather than seeking to elevate the public mood.

However with regard to the question of who will bring such a desirable outcome to us, there is another consideration: that is that the leader of the Liberals must become Prime Minister of Great Britain or at very least a significant personage in a shared government. In achieving such office they must not dilute the party's commitment to peace and reform. In that we have aspiring leaders without experience of government, it is hard to know their mettle, their inner steel, their fibre. It is to be hoped that some indications emerge in the next few weeks.

dreamingspire said...

Where is the mention of real reform in Mr Huhne? The government has already enshrined the concept of more local democracy in its Local Govt Act just granted Royal Assent, so talking of it in vague terms without proposing a mechanism to make it work is a busted flush. In the pub on Friday night the view was that we no longer believe anything any politicians say, because we all know that too much of the public sector that oppresses us is enforced by administrators who have become politicised - but really they are covering up their inability to organise anything properly. Where is the real reform of the civil service and of local govt?