Mark Pack has posted excerpts here from Nick Clegg’s interview in the Independent today — but it’s worth highlighting also the conclusion of the paper’s leading article today assessing the Lib Dems’ contribution during the first two years of Coalition Government:
There remains much to criticise this Government for, and The Independent on Sunday disagrees with its policy on tax and spending, higher education, the NHS and much else besides. But there was no possible government after the last election that could have delivered all that this newspaper wanted. The effective choice was between a Conservative minority government and a coalition, and the latter has given some stability.
We give Mr Clegg credit for two things. One is that neither he nor Mr Cameron has sought to blame the other for decisions in which neither side got all that it wanted. The other is that the Liberal Democrats have made a positive difference. This Government is more concerned with social justice, civil liberties and the environment than it would be if it consisted wholly of Conservatives.
What if the conventional wisdom were wrong? It would not be the first time that someone whose career had been written off came back. Those who are prepared to keep an open mind should at least consider the question that Mr Clegg poses in his interview. If it were not for the presence of Liberal Democrats, would this Government not be much worse?
Or to put it another way, and to paraphrase Voltaire, Don’t Let The Perfect Be The Enemy Of The Least Worst. It’s not an election-winning slogan, I accept. But it has the merit of honesty.
* Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, and editor of the 2013 publication, The Coalition and Beyond: Liberal Reforms for the Decade Ahead. He is also a Research Associate for the liberal think-tank CentreForum and writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.