Sunday 5 December 2010

Nick Clegg: Similarities to Lloyd George

Nick Clegg's recent prominence has encouraged me to think about the similarities between him and another well known Liberal politician = David Lloyd George.

Clegg made a tremendous impact during the TV debates (particularly the first) during the general election this year. Lloyd George, often dubbed 'the Welsh Wizard' was an equally, if not greater, electioneer.

Of course there are significant differences - Lloyd George when he was Prime Minister was not the leader of the Liberal Party whereas Nick Clegg is the Deputy Prime Minister and the leader of the Liberal Party.

However, there is one characteristic that they both have in common - their ability to powerfully advocate one policy and then to powerfully advocate the complete opposite when the sutuation arises. In Clegg's case this is his well documentated U-Turn over Tuition Fees. (Apologies for the overt political nature of the YouTube link but it does contain genuine clear and unambiguous statements from Nick Clegg). In the general election of 1918 Lloyd George and the Conservative dominated government promised social reform and 'homes fit for heroes to live in'. After this election, 'excessive criticism of government expenditure built up within the Conservative ranks' and Lloyd George appointed Sir Eric Geddes to recommend cuts in expenditure - often known as the 'Geddes Axe'. The governments social reforms were quickly forgotten about.

I wonder if Nick Clegg will speak in the House of Commons on Thursday (9 December) during the vote on the increased Tuition Fees, and if so, will my comparison to Lloyd George be given further substance.