Nick Clegg’s few days in charge have summed up his current political problem. If he says he agrees with what the government is doing, the media ask what’s the point of the Lib Dems? That’s what happened to him on the Today Programme this morning. But if he talks about where he disagrees with the coalition programme as he did on Monday when discussing Trident, he’s lambasted for exacerbating coalition tensions.
It is all far cry from the early days of the coalition when there was some concern in Conservative circles that Clegg was a thinner, better version of David Cameron. But if Clegg went back and like a sportsman watched footage of himself from when he was in form, he’d notice that back then he was much more comfortable talking about how the Liberal Democrat’s limited number of seats meant that they were never going to get everything they wanted. Indeed, Clegg’s willingness to point out this political reality gave him protection against precisely the line of questioning that Evan Davis was using this morning.