Coffee House

Nick Clegg’s loopy strategy

15 May 2014

1:32 PM

15 May 2014

1:32 PM

I am beginning to think that Dominic Cummings has driven Nick Clegg round the bend. The Lib Dem leader should want this row over universal free school meals to go away; it is a massive distraction with elections only six days away. But he can’t help himself from keeping it going.

So, today we have a joint Gove Laws op-ed in The Times declaring that they are not at loggerheads over the policy. This is accompanied by a news story which reveals that Clegg demanded that Gove write the piece. The piece also reveals, rather unhelpfully, that some schools are not on track to deliver the policy in time for September.


Not content with this, Clegg has been busy stoking the row in his morning interviews. He doesn’t seem to realise that he has a lot to lose while Cummings has nothing to lose. Every time, Clegg attacks Cummings, Cummings responds in kind and the story keeps going. As I say in the magazine this week, I really can’t see how Clegg or the Liberal Democrats’ interests are served by this.

Cummings’s latest blog happily admits that he wants to keep this row going. But what is genuinely baffling is why Clegg is doing everything that Cummings wants him to do. Someone needs to tell him to stop responding to Cummings’s attacks. If he continues like this, he is going to get dragged deeper and deeper into a war that he can’t win.

PS: If you have a minute, do read Cummings’s latest blog post. It surpasses the script of any political satire.  ​

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Show comments
  • HookesLaw

    Well I suppose its par for the course that each government has someone who is driven bonkers even if he is not sane at the start. At least in this case its an LD not a tory.

    • Wessex Man

      erm, well they alreday are as mad as hoatters as you know well Hooky Babe! after all you are one of them and demonstrate your madness at every turn.

  • Hello

    You see Clegg out politicking and you think that what he’s doing is so stupid that he must be doing something very clever, but reading Cumming’s piece it’s nice to know that he really is just a geeky buffoon.

    • davidraynes

      I also wonder about Clegg’s sanity.

      All this fuss about school meals yet he wants universal, legalised/normalised cannabis.

      Feed the kids up then destroy their brains, seems to be his grand plan for Britain..

      • Hello

        Poor chap. Life’s tough when you preside over the decimation of your party’s vote share.

  • GUBU

    Might I suggest that the next logical step here is for the Deputy Prime Minister to take himself hostage in protest at his government’s failure to fully implement his proposals for free school meals?

    He might also consider threatening to release himself if people do not vote Liberal Democrat in next week’s elections.

    This is more likely to boost his party’s increasingly feeble support than a further debate with Mr Farage.

  • tommy5dollar

    The argument between Clegg and Cummings is orchestrated by CCHQ/LDHQ to aid in differentiating the two parties.

    • MirthaTidville

      CCHQ yes but cant think Cleggies lot are involved..They` re just giving him more rope and he`s doing all the hanging himself. Still its very good news with the elections only a week away…happy days

  • In2minds

    Clegg – “He doesn’t seem to realise that he has a lot to lose”

    Wrong, as the song says – ‘when you ain’t got nothing you got nothing to

    Clegg and the LD’s are, like in the Farage debate, heading for another

  • @PhilKean1

    Maybe he should tell him that 3 million jobs depend on the outcome of the free school meals pledge.

    “Now is not the time to raise the drawbridge. We should walk tall on the world stage and champion free school meals.
    Free school meals is an issue that affects Britain’s standing in the world.
    How can we negotiate with the Americans about the benefits of free school meals if we aren’t able to do so with out closest neighbours in Brussels?

    It is madness to believe you can retreat to Britain’s shores, like little Englanders, while decisions about free school meals are being made without being at the negotiating table.

    The idea that you can somehow negotiate good deals on school meals with nations who are so much bigger than Britain, without the benefit of our membership of the EU, really is like living in cloud cuckoo land “.


    • HookesLaw

      School report — ‘must try harder’

      • @PhilKean1

        I thought it deserved an A+

    • telemachus

      Clegg is in fact on to a winner here
      Most folk want it
      They see their family meal budget beginning to fall
      Clegg make Gove look ridiculous
      That is even more ridiculous than he looks already

      • HookesLaw

        You are in favour of ‘extending welfare to the middle classes’?

      • @PhilKean1

        I think the best description to describe that linkage is “tenuous in the extreme”.

        But why not? After all, we all try to make political capital even when there is none to make.

        However, I am sure that NET taxpayers, those who give to the state more than they receive, would dispute your contention that Clegg is onto a winner.

        Wouldn’t it be nice, for a change, to hear NOT what Liberal-left politician intend to do to purchase the votes of the unprincipled and the politically-ignorant – but instead, on how Britain can do the things it needs to do to enable British businesses to compete with their foreign competitors?

        Awarding excessive, expensive, penalising employee rights, such as extending paternity leave, and handing out free school slop, is NOT the way to do this.

        • telemachus

          Spoken like a true patrician who resents sharing his riches with the poor
          The voters will tell us

          • @PhilKean1

            Or a realist who knows that politicians need the country to pay its way if they are going to use taxpayers’ money to buy votes.

            • telemachus

              Not buying votes
              Ensuring that those at the bottom of the heap do not starve

        • Cornelius Bonkers

          Isn’t it strange how such an idiot has become the most dangerous man in the land. Clegg is a true zealot of liberal fundamentalism. He couldn’t even see his humiliation at the hands of frog-faced Farage coming. Astonishingly stupid and wrong to boot…giving people stuff for free? Isn’t this what brings about the dependency we see all around us?

      • CharlietheChump

        So goodbye Pupil Premium