The leader of the Liberal Democrats, who has surged up the popularity charts in recent days after his supposedly slick performance in the recent TV political debates opposite David Cameron and Gordon Brown, made a remark – which I caught on the TV summaries this morning – that proves that behind all the supposedly “nice”, decent image he wants to present, that he is a man incapable of handling serious disagreement with the conventional wisdom. In his attack on Cameron’s decision to ally Tory MEPs with a certain grouping of right-of-centre European political parties, Clegg damned this grouping for being full of anti-semites and, wait for it, “climate change deniers”. So, let me get this right, as far as Clegg is concerned, someone who is unconvinced, or at least not fully convinced, of the AGW theory, is on a par with someone who hates Jews and wishes them ill. Riiiight.
There are two notable things about Clegg’s remark: that he made it and thought this would play with the audience, and that Cameron, trying still to be so much the “I am above all this grubby stuff” schtick, did not kneecap this insufferable toad for so doing. But then again, as David Cameron has bought into the AGW theory wholesale, he did not have it within him to call out Clegg for such a remark.
As has been noted already, this is a prime example of when political parties embrace the same, suffocating meta-context (as Samizdata’s own editorial El Supremo, Perry, would put it). It means that interesting, even deadly, debating points don’t enter the heads of those who could profit from actually using them. And yet I am sure that many Britons, who are not totally convinced of AGW, would have applauded Cameron had he had the sense to hammer Clegg for his oafish remark.