David Blackburn

Clegg breaks the mould

For weeks now, the genteel coalition has been getting grubbier. Today the Deputy Prime Minister cut loose and went into campaign mode as the leader of the Liberal Democrats. With both eyes on preserving his party’s loosening roots in local government, he assaulted (£) Conservative and Labour councils for cutting services.

Clegg was not assisted by the more prominent Lib Dems in local government: the ubiquitous councillor Richard Kemp, the Lib Dems’ chief at the Local Government Association, asserted, almost with a note of relish, that the party is going to get a ‘kicking’.

It probably will. But, as James argues, Clegg’s immediate concern after 5 May will be to ensure that the coalition returns to something approaching normality. The early spring blooms pervade an acrid smell; a sweeter scent is in order for the Rose Garden.

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