Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Is there more to Clegg than meets the eye?

I have to say that Nick Clegg went up in my estimation today after reading this story in which he pledges to lead a public campaign of law-breaking against the Government's ID card scheme.

"If the legislation is passed I will lead a grassroots campaign of civil disobedience to thwart the identity cards programme ... I, and I expect thousands of people like me, will simply refuse ever to register," he said.

Clegg has spent most of this leadership campaign giving progressives like me reasons not to vote for him - all the talk about the Lib Dems needing to stop "looking inward" is really just code for saying the party needs to travel lighter in ideological terms.

But if he really is prepared to become the first party leader in living memory to go to jail for his principles, then perhaps he is not quite the identikit member of the "political class" that on the surface he seems to be.

As I pointed out in my Saturday column last week, Gordon Brown's pretensions to be a champion of "liberty" will be pretty hollow unless he is prepares to reconsider the ID card scheme.

Loath as I am to urge him to nick any more ideas off the Tories, David Cameron's mob have put themselves on the right side of both popular opinion and liberal opinion on this one - two things that rarely seem to coincide.

Of all the crazy ideas put forward during the Blair era, this is the very first that Brown should have dispensed with in his determination to put some distance between him and his predecessor.

By comparison, supercasinos and the law on cannabis are pretty small beer.

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2 comments:

UK Daily Pundit said...

By 2010 it won't make a blind bit of difference. They'll know everything they need to know about us by simply scanning the barcode on our wheelie bin. Is Nick Clegg opposing that? Of course not. He probably thought of it. Its posturing from Clegg, nothing more. The first sign of a coppers truncheon and you wouldn't see him for dust.

David Gladwin said...

Perhaps he's really banking on a serious surge of public opinion against the ID card scheme rendering it a non-starter, and thereby ensuring that he never has to man the barricades.