Sometimes you can see leadership written all through some people. It colours all of their actions, their interactions, and their fundamental reactions. Leadership is something you either have, or you don’t. It isn’t about what you know, it’s about who you are. It isn’t how you do things, it’s about how others react to those things. True leadership is like the Midas touch.
And Nick Clegg doesn’t have it.
In Parliament today he managed to split his party on one of the main issues where previously there had been agreement. He managed to sow discord where previously there had been harmony. And why? Not because he wanted them to vote against their principles, not because he wanted them to vote this way or that way, but because he actually told them not to vote at all! Not content with playing the wimp hand, he then proceeded to try to force them to his will using a three line whip.
Not surprisingly, 3 Front Bench spokesmen resigned and 15 of “his” MPs ignored his commands as the tide ignored Canute all those years ago. Oh dear, I thought, the Lib Dems have a right one here. But then I thought that over the LibDem leadership election, too: neither candidate had as much charisma as a dead slug, so it was inevitable that something like this would happen someday.
What is it with British politics these days? Don’t politicians like strong leaders anymore? The Conservatives have overlooked Ken Clarke again and again when he is one of the few men who could have gotten them elected by now, and the LibDems have passed up on an excellent leader in the form of Vince Cable, a true performer. Vince Cable is so good that he overshadowed both Cameron and Brown, and I think they were both a little scared of him.
But who’s going to be scared by Nick Clegg? Well, based on the fact that almost a quarter of his party MPs don’t even do what he tells them anymore, I would say nobody. I mean, he’s just so Last of the Summer Whiney isn’t he?