25th September 2010
DIKTAT OR DEMOCRACY?
A “D” for effort, Mr Clegg.
Nick Clegg is a guy who came from obscurity to the second top job in government. And now, four months on, he knows it all. Some complain that Tony Blair’s first four years were wasted as he took the temperature and time to find policy positions and political direction. Very, very arguable, with Northern Ireland, devolution for Scotland and Wales, Bank of England control of interest rates, minimum wage to name but a few. This Fabian Society post seems to conclude that Blair’s first-term was fast-moving, even while their listen/don’t listen to Tony message betrays confusion on the Left. Blair himself says that in their first term he did not move as fast as he later wished he had.
But it seems that in comparison to most governments Tony Blair’s first term DID make enormous, reforming changes, though not as many as he might have liked to. Too much time spent finding out what the voters wanted? Too much consultation?
In contrast it has taken all of four months for Clegg to neatly “diktat” to us all.
Of course if Gordon Brown hadn’t boobed as usual (and had taken a leaf from his predecessor’s book, journey, as it were) Clegg would never have had the chance to shine like a Blair/Cameron clone and thus fool enough of the TV celebrity fans, at least some of the time.
Thus one becomes Deputy PM.
But as Clegg opined at the UN General Assembly last night, his coalition colleague in the audience, Conservative Foreign Secretary William Hague, must have been thinking “the tail now surely wags the dog.”
Clegg said in a tone reminiscent of an Obama apology for ‘past mistakes’ – “Democracy cannot be created by diktat”.
Except that if one accepts Clegg’s premise on ‘democracy by diktat’ – which I don’t since it’s a false premise – the evidence in Clegg’s terms is that democracy actually HAS been so created. (Or is that ‘crated’, in Clegg-speke? Odd how when someone irritates you, the way they verbalise also irritates.)
Clegg got his words and ideas in the wrong order, of course, as often he does. He clearly meant –
“diktat can’t be created by democracy”.
So, when his tail continues to tweak away at the Conservative dog’s head he needs to remember that the big dog supported the previous big dog’s policy on Iraq AND, at least ostensibly, on liberal interventionism.
And yet Clegg, the “liberal”, diktats against both.
On the domestic scene he may also wish to take note that Liberal Democrat voters did not provide a mandate for Clegg’s party to support right-wing Conservative policies on the economy, jobs, health and education.
But, regardless, Clegg in the name of compromise, diktats too, in support of all of the above.
And all done with an air of careless sanguine that would embarrass ‘diktaters’ from the Blair era. I suppose that’s Cleggite for “practising what we preach”?
I do hope Mr Clegg will ponder on this when he, with his evidently superior understanding of history, reminds himself of the hopes as well as the limitations of liberal internationalism. Or even those of its parochial more self-absorbed and far more supercilious domestic variety – liberal democracy.
It’s democracy. But not as Clegg knows it.
- Democracy in Iraq, reports from 2005 – and 2003-2006 opinion polls in Iraq – and March 2010 here and here and here.
- Democracy in Afghanistan, reports from 2004 and 20o9 and yesterday.
Deputy PM puts forward vision of liberal foreign policy, and promises that UK will ‘practice[sic] what we preach’
Still there would have been ONE guy in New York yesterday who echoed Clegg on the limits of democracy, not to mention practising and preaching – THIS ONE –
This quick video below is, some might say unfortunately, just a bit of fun. But it’s great fun. I imagine that even Obama might be quietly saying something similar in the White House after Ahmadinejad’s disgraceful conspiratorial nonsense the other day. Let’s hope so anyway.
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“Mr. Blair is one of the finest politicians to have had the priviledge of serving the United Kingdom, and Britons are fortunate to have had him as their Prime Minister. Time will show that Mr. Blair’s approach to affairs in the Middle East were and remain correct. From a member of the Commonwealth, thank you, Mr. Blair, for your continued service to legitimate and lasting (and not convenient or politically expedient) freedom.”
AND – “Tony Blair was the greatest Prime Minister since Winston Churchill and the only regret I have he didn’t get my vote as I live in Canada.”
AND – ““I am sick and tired of television and radio interviewers asking the same old questions over and over, regarding the decision to go to war in Iraq, presumably they hope Mr Blair will let slip some secret information which they would then use against him. History will show if the decision was the right one, (I believe it was) but people must accept that Tony Blair is a honourable man, and made his decision based on the known facts and not with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight.”
Tags: Cityscape, democracy, diktat, Foreign Policy, Gordon Brown, Iraq, Iraq September 2010 image, Liberal Democrat, Mohammed Ameen, nick clegg, picture, politics, Tigris River, Tony Blair, United Nations General Assembly