Quote of the day: Making a difference

Fashionable parts of the left now sneer at government, and I’ve never understood that. I can understand it if you’re a philosopher or a religious figure, but if you’re in the secular world of politics, which is a grubby, tough, volatile business, why on earth would you not want to try and do shit? I just don’t understand what this whole Corbyn thing is for, if it doesn’t do anything.

Nick Clegg

For the record, I still have a lot of time for Nick Clegg insofar as I think he was right to enter a coalition with the Tories in 2010 rather than either trying to prop up a rejected Labour administration or retreat to the sidelines to shout impotently at a minority government. One thing that does come across from the interview is something I’ve read elsewhere, that the Lib Dems were not expecting a hung parliament and were not prepared for it.

On balance, a government with the Lib Dems in it has proved to be better than a government without, as has proved increasingly clear since May of last year. Being the minor coalition partner in a country not used to coalitions was never going to be easy, however, and the Lib Dems made a number of mistakes early on (as is acknowledged in the interview) that compounded their problems.

Hopefully the Lib Dems will make a recovery and rebuild themselves as an older, wiser and tougher party. Because politics – not just in Britain but also in the rest of Europe and beyond – is in dire need of a strong dose of liberalism.