by Urban Echo reporter
His rise to power was momentous but his fall would be inconsequential because he himself is responsible for his doom. Those who are waiting in the wings to replace him include the front runner Tim Farron while the potential rivals like Vince Cable (Business Secretary), Norman Lamb (Care Minister) and Ed Davey (Energy Secretary) are less likely to win.
Nick Clegg, the 48 year old descendant of Russia’s old Tsarist nobility, had a very good schooling before joining Cambridge University in 1986. After graduation he was awarded one year scholarship to study at the University of Minnesota. He was the first Liberal parliamentarian since 1931 elected as MEP in 1998 in the East Midlands. He left EU in 2002 on the pretext that the battle to persuade public of the benefits of Europe was fought at home, not in Brussels. He is an MP since 2005 in Sheffield Hallam, a seat now seriously endangered, and Deputy Prime Minister in the coalition since 2010.
Clegg criticised Tories before 2010 general elections; he was critical of the election system and called UK democracy ‘fractured’ because some votes counted more than others. He campaigned in favour of alternate vote (AV) as opposed to ‘first past the post’ and succeeded in brokering a referendum but his AV was defeated. Student finances were the flagship policy of his party before and during the 2010 general elections. He signed vote for students pledge to oppose increase in tuition fees prior to 2010 general election. Though coalition agreement allowed Lib Dems the right to abstain any vote relating to the increase in fees, yet he failed to exercise that right.
In his leadership Liberal Democrats also failed to block the Conservatives’ controversial health reforms. He has all the while been talking tall about keeping the standards, yet Lib Dem’s fundraiser had sought to bypass donations laws. Ibrahim Taguri, the party’s former chief fundraiser, who was standing for MP in Brent Central and boasted that his campaign was the “third best-funded” in the country, accepted a cheque on behalf of the party for more than £75,000 from an undercover donor. He told the donor, a fake wealthy Indian, that he would be able to channel money via family members and backdate cheques to avoid appearing on public registers.
In spite of Clegg’s pre-2010 election attacks on the Tories yet he spent five years sharing power with them. Once again, in the climate of general elections, he has tried to show his original colours. Using Spring Conference 2015 speech he mocked ‘the red-faced bluster of right-wing Tories’ and compared David Cameron with ‘Nigel Farage in a white tie’. He declared that ‘cows moo, dogs bark. And Tories cut. It is in their DNA.’
The irritant between the two coalition partners is that Tories rule out any further tax rises. They would tackle deficit through cuts alone including taking out another £12 billion out of the welfare budget. Nick Clegg who had been feeling quite easy with the Tories while they put to practice all these measures during the last term, is now feeling uneasy because of the general elections’ expediency. In spite of the dire polls opinions that Lib Dems could lose more than half of their 57 seats won in the last elections, Clegg insists that his party was ‘here to stay.’
This seems to be certain that Nick Clegg’s Spring Conference speech is going to be potentially his last to his Conference as Deputy Prime Minister and/or as a leader. Many Liberal Democrats are not happy with him. His own party members mistrust his audacity in proving the concept of coalition. The party is wracked by crises of confidence. Lord Oakeshott, a wealthy peer, has resigned from the party since last May. In an attempt to create Ed Miliband-led progressive government, Lord Oakeshott has donated £600,000 equally distributed among 30 Labour and 15 left of the centre Liberal Democrat candidates of the marginal seats. Now an independent, Lord Oakeshott says: “doing his bit to save our country from Tory government cringing to Ukip.
Mr Farron, a Lib Dem MP from Westmorland and Lonsdale has given his party a score of just ‘2 out of 10’ for how it handled its time in coalition. He says that Mr Clegg should have understood the damage the Party’s U-turn on tuition fees would inflict.