Is Nick Clegg going home?

Failure rewarded, again

A welcome awaits? A welcome awaits?
What is the point of the EU? A simple question you may think, but it all depends who you are speaking to as to the answer you get. Politicians such as Neil Kinnock and Peter Mandelson could give you an answer and it would explain how it saved them from the scrapheap for, as an employer of the rejects of democracy, the EU has an impressive track record. This is one of the reasons why the political class love the EU so much. In the UK you start with being interested in politics at university, hoping to 'get noticed'. You will certainly stand a good chance of being indoctrinated into the 'benefits' of the EU by the teaching staff and syllabus content. Then there are student exchange programmes, what fun, study abroad etc. Then if it all works out well you could work for an MP.

In time there will be an opportunity to become a local councillor. High fliers, or black women, could be fast-tracked towards the House of Commons. First a no-hope fight in another party's stronghold, don't despair, just hold on for the safe seat. Once elected it's usually plain sailing for the next ten years at least. But if disaster strikes and the voters have the cheek to vote you out and you are too young for the House of Lords, then is the time to become an MEP. You don't even have to learn from the mistakes that caught you out, for once you are an MEP it's straightforward all the way to the sunset years.

Although if as an MP you were in constant demand by the UK's MSM there could be a culture shock ahead, for as an MEP you are as good as invisible to the UK public. Again do not despair! This is advantageous, unless you commit a murder, and are caught, the money will come rolling in for not too much effort. Who knows, you might get to like it? If this be the case then go for it! For there are employment opportunities within the EU at all levels. You might make it to Commissioner, now think of that! There's no more bother with elections, campaigning and all that other tedious stuff attached to democracy and the pay is fabulous. Finally, like all good gangs, the EU looks after its own.

It's at this point our attention focuses on Nick Clegg. There's always something odd about Lib Dems and in the case of Clegg he became an MEP before returning to the UK and becoming an MP. But the principle remains, he's 'one of theirs', he's their boy and they will look after him. The Mirror has an 'exclusive' suggesting that Clegg could be heading for home so to speak. The Lib Dems are in real trouble, so, obviously, Clegg is too. And spotting this trouble is in no way an exclusive story for one newspaper. Since the formation of the Lib Dems it's been a political party waiting for the right moment to fall apart. So what better moment than now, following its first taste of real power?

It's all very well Lib Dem activists proudly counting the number of councillors they have but this means nothing to most voters. In a typical UK town few voters could name their councillor but would have heard of Clegg. So the political base upon which the Lib Dems build, their great strength at the local level, does not carry the value it is accorded. If opinion polls show the Lib Dems going down then this has to be taken seriously by those activists. So does the idea that the solution for the Lib Dems is for Clegg to go back to the EU, but this does not solve the problem. In fact it could make things worse for the Lib Dems.

So long as the Lib Dems did not have the real power that comes with central government, and were thus never, politically speaking, 'tested', they could carry on with their total attachment to all things EU. But now as part of the coalition they are seen as responsible and if their activists have not noticed the rage that continues to come from the failed demand to curb the flow of power to the EU from the UK, then they have not been paying attention. And as the most pro-EU part of the coalition it is they the disgruntled people will have in their sights. Lib Dem activists let this pass, saying it's only a poll, at their peril. Also if Clegg goes he will risk being portrayed as abandoning the UK in distress before the cut-backs restored fiscal sanity to the UK.

It could also be bad for the EU, for rescuing Kinnock and Mandelson only confirmed the EU as a losers' paradise to a significant number of UK voters; an opinion reinforced by the EU employing the lacklustre Baroness Ashton, a woman few people had heard of and who seems to ooze mediocrity. The suggestion is that Clegg will replace Ashton, so he might in theory, but mud sticks and her role within the EU is mired for all time; would Clegg want that? So the big question is, how would Clegg going home affect David Cameron or, for that matter, Ed Miliband? In exact terms it's not easy to say, but in neither case would it be positive. In fact for Miliband it could be a chilling thought; what if elder brother David Miliband went instead?