Thursday, 1 September 2011


It's starting to get a whole lot more encouraging in London - or more precisely, Tottenham. Having endured around 14 months of Hell at the hands of the grubby media, this could be the moment Nick Clegg begins his rehabilitation as he steps into the limelight and confirms his role as the Minister for Doing the Right Thing.

His support for Vince and their joint call for banking reform to happen now, not when Dave and George's chums in the City want it, is what we fought the last election for and what the prophetic Vince has been demanding for an embarrassing (for the other parties) number of years. Nick's firm backing for Vince is what we want to hear and he needs to square up to Dave and make sure the Tory leader doesn't weasel out of this. Any compromise on this fundamental issue should be met by loud Lib Dem condemnation. Banking reform is solid gold, not blue...

His return to Tottenham yesterday to reaffirm the government's commitment to helping the area after the looting is also good, a clear sign that the Lib Dems don't just move on to the next story. Nick's visit appears to have been welcomed by people in Tottenham and even by the local Labour MP.

Nick has done more for his reputation in this one day than in the past 14 months of coalition government. I called yesterday's brief comment 'reasons to be cheerful' and for one of the few times since we went into coalition with the Tories, I am smiling. As I've said before, I don't envy our Lib Dem MPs their job of working with the Tories but I do admire them for it.

Lots of people - usually on the left- have bleated about the Lib Dems in coalition, some asking what the Lib Dems are for and praying for some kind of revival of their fortunes as we decline. Well, it has been a difficult time for us but the answer to that existential question is here. This is what the Lib Dems are for: doing stuff, delivering on our promises, keeping the Tories in check, reforming the banks, sorting out the mess left by Labour.

In three years' time we can go to voters and show them that we have actually done stuff in government. I'm no expert but I reckon people will quite like that.

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