I am a bit confused about Nick Clegg. In his favourite paper, The Guardian, he cites Samuel Beckett as his hero. In another, The Telegraph, WB Yeats is named as his favourite poet.
Beckett may be best known as a playwright, but he was also a poet. I wonder if it is possible to have a hero who is not your favourite exponent of their chosen activity.
The Telegraph was writing about Mr Clegg’s artistic tastes because they have unearthed a poem he wrote aged 17, which was published in The Elizabethan, the school magazine at Westminster, the slighty-less-well-known-but-just-as-posh-as-David’s school that Clegg went to.
It is one of the pitfalls of high office and its pursuit that old lovers, habits, statements, exams, reports and even poems can be deemed fair game for a media suddenly fascinated by every angle of the person going for the top job.
This poem has come to light because when Mr Clegg was asked last week about his most embarrassing moment, he cited its publication, and revealed that it was an ode to adolescent infatuation.
But read it carefully. Once you get past the first line (I think it is fair to say Mr Clegg, in common with most of the country, does not love David Cameron) it could be a remarkable foretaste of what would happen in a Lib-Dem-supporting Tory coalition.
My love blasted you from my mind
Your skin too silken to be seen
Your voice slipping through my brain
Your movements fluttering from within.
But now. Yes, I can see you now,
Too dumb, squatted in my eyes,
Poisoned like a dying pearl,
A killer’s vengeance – twisted.
Enjoy the cuts Nick.
For the rest of you, if you live in one of the 100-plus Tory/Labour marginals, just remember that if you go to bed with Nick next Thursday, you wake up with silken-skinned Dave on Friday morning, and that voice will be slipping through our brains for a few years, announcing change that will damage the economy, public services, and generally take our country backwards to the kind of Britain DC really believes in.
* Buy The Blair Years online and raise cash for Labour http://www.alastaircampbell.org/bookshop.org