Nick Clegg is to progressive politics what Dan Brown is to literature. There’s next to no relation. So please please Ed Miliband will you stop making overtures to him? Clegg is arrogant and by holding out olive branches you flatter a man who in no way deserves it.
In interview in the Independent today Miliband is revealed to have had a secret meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister’s in his Commons office last Thursday evening. The two spoke for almost an hour. Apparently this meeting took place just before the Labour leader apparently sat down with Ed Balls to hammer out the terms under which he would succeed Alan Johnson as shadow Chancellor.
While the paper says Clegg’s response to Miliband’s overtures was naturally wary it says the two “did break the ice”. The Indy says the Labour leader offered to co-operate on issues on which the two non-Tory parties still agree including the referendum on the alternative vote. Miliband has also softened (somewhat) his position on a future deal with Clegg:
“He has softened (slightly) his line during the Labour leadership contest that Mr Clegg would have to stand aside for the two parties to do a deal if the next election ends in stalemate. ‘I have no animus against Nick Clegg personally. I think he made the wrong political choice. It is hard to see how he can become the voice of progressive politics, but let’s see.’ “
See what? Another Clegg u-turn? Please stop. Forgetting that for a second without any surprise the Lib Dems have responsed to Miliband’s overtures in a totally predictable way with these comments from Liberal Democrat Party President, Tim Farron:
“We are very flattered that Ed Miliband is so enamoured with Liberal Democrats that we appear to be the only thing he talks about these days. I suspect most Labour MPs would prefer him to develop some policies instead.
“This is Jekyll and Hyde politics: he flutters his eyelashes in sugar-and-spice interviews trying to woo the Liberal Democrats and at the same time he orchestrates his unelected dinosaurs in the Lords to obstruct real reform
“Every progressive in Britain will be disappointed that Ed’s talk about reform are eclipsed by his actions to block the most important democratic change since universal suffrage. He will be judged by his actions, not his words.”
Farron knows very well why the legislation is being blocked as the Tory and Liberal coalition has cooked up a terrible piece of legislation that mashes reform of the commons together with voting reform.
All of this is a long way from the comments Miliband made during the leadership race where he described the Lib Dems as a “disgrace to…liberalism”. Not sure anything has changed or why he wants to appear on the same platform as Clegg supporting the duff system of AV.
A deal with Clegg as leader of the Lib Dems should be out of the question in the same way a deal for them with Labour and Gordon Brown as leader was also a non-starter.