Just been for a run round Cardiff, looking fabulous in the sunshine (Cardiff, that is, not me; I looked a bit slow and knackered and felt relieved I am not doing the London Marathon on Sunday.)
I ran past the Welsh Assembly, which has done a lot to give Wales a greater confidence and sense of identity, past the lovely new opera house, out to the new Cardiff City stadium (alas could be back there all too soon if Burnley don’t beat Liverpool on Saturday) and round some really nice new housing developments.
Nobody pretends that all that is good in this country, and all that is improved since 1997, is down to the Labour government. But a lot of it is. Even after the recession, it is possible to look back and see this as having been a period of advance and prosperity. And it is not just the partisan in me that worries we are going to throw a lot of that away on the back of David Cameron’s vague ‘time for a change’ message, or a bout of so-called Cleggamania after a perfectly polished but hardly Obama-esque TV performance almost a week ago.
I have said many times before that our media are incapable of doing what I call in-between-ery. GB was brilliant in their eyes shortly after he became PM. He then went from hero to zero and in their eyes has stayed there. Cameron got the softest ride of any oppostion leader in history as they sought a new hero. But now Clegg is the new kid on the block, they are pushing him in the zero position, whilst hoping to be able to do the ‘Comeback Kid’ on the back of tomorrow night’s debate.
As for Clegg, there is a touch of the Dianification going on, perfectly ludicrous for a politician at election time, even one who exploited the anti-politics mood quite well.
And the loss of his debate strategy note in the back of a cab does rather blow a hole in the ‘I’m no ordinary politician, I’m honest and I tell it straight’ approach.
AVOID UNILATERAL DISARMAMENT IMPLICATION, it says..
The Lib Dems want to scrap Trident, unilaterally, whilst allowing Iran and other rogue states to carry on regardless. But they don’t want you to know that. That is not honest politics.
Nor are he and his party quite as clean on the expenses front as they would like you to believe.
Clegg must not be allowed to avoid proper debate on Trident and all the other policy positions which, when put before the public, leads to many of them expressing their disapproval – an amnesty for illegal asylum seekers, scrapping the DNA database, cuttting child tax credits and child trust funds.
He is in many ways an attractive politician. But for heaven’s sake let’s have some proper debate about his policies.
And when he talks about the last 65 years being a failure, that is a nonsense statement of such epic proportions I wonder how he can say it with a straight face. It is a more grandiose version of the running down Britain Mr Cameron likes to do. But it is hardly new politics.
** Buy The Blair Years and raise cash for Labour http://www.alastaircampbell.org/bookshop.php.