Clegg cutting across Cameron message but in being out of touch they are united
Posted on 6 April 2011 | 1:04pm
If anything underlined the hero to zero journey made by poor old Nick Clegg, it is the furore over his intervention yesterday about internships.
It must have seemed so obvious to Clegg and his political comms team . . He has to find ways of differentiating himself from the Tories. Hence his foolish and inaccurate claim to have secured lower fuel prices.
But saying internships should neither be unpaid nor merely the preserve of the well connected seemed like classic differentiation territory. But did they seriously expect the issue of his own use of patronage, neighbours who happened to be Tory Cabinet ministers and the like would stay unknown and unused for political attack? Either they are losing any touch they ever had, or they are just plain out of touch.
His speech yesterday also represented another cannibalising policy. In so far as David Cameron understands the Big Society, I suspect that young people getting a leg up from family friends and connections, and young bucks learning a thing or two through cheap labour in between ski trips and gap years is very much part of his vision.
So in addition further to welcoming another Clegg mishap as part of the longterm plan to cut him adrift if a majority ever looms into view, he will also be wondering why his Number Two is cutting across his Number One message.
Clegg did much the same on health. Whilst Number Ten and Andrew Lansley were saying the pause – more and more hilarious with every passing day – was merely that, Clegg was out presaging major change.
It meant that today Cameron was cast in the role once more of holding the ring between members of his team saying different things. All a bit chaotic and silly. And all at a time when living standards are about to get clobbered . . . Cue more chronic out of touchness from the rich boys running the country . . Eight out often better off. In the Cabinet maybe, in the country I think not.