Sympathy for the Weasel

John Rentoul

Bridled weasel 300x238 Sympathy for the WeaselI have been struck by one of those rare moments of sympathy for Nick Clegg. The instrument of my temporary conversion is Jeremy Paxman, whose public service in exposing the vacuous hypocrisy of Russell Brand has been substantially negated by his decision to expose his own hypocrisy in the Radio Times.

He revealed that he hadn’t voted in “a recent election” and that he could understand people who wouldn’t vote next time:

At the next election we shall have a choice between the people who’ve given us five years of austerity, the people who left us this mess, and the people who signed public pledges that they wouldn’t raise student fees, and then did so – the most blatant lie in recent political history.

He’s entitled to his wrong opinions and poor grasp of economics, but I do object – as I was saying to Louise Mensch – to people using “lie”, “lying” or “liar”.

There is no need for it. Your argument is infinitely stronger and more persuasive if you can make it without such unparliamentary language.

But what makes it worse in this case is that it is, er, a false statement that Paxman knows to be false.

The Liberal Democrat promise to vote against any rise in tuition fees was foolish, wrongheaded and even insincere in the sense that Nick Clegg and several of his senior colleagues did not agree with it. But they did not make the promise intending to break it. They assumed that, if they got into government, they would be able to negotiate a way through that would allow them to keep it.

My irritation with Clegg’s hypocrisy in opposing special advisers, who are good for democracy, when he was in opposition, and in employing a record number of them now, has temporarily shifted.

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  • mightymark

    Of course I do – and the effect of your desperation is the casue of your appalling arguments.

  • Pacificweather

    Spoken like a true Englishman. In future call me Desperate Dan the man who am going to make you think the best that you can.

    I found this great quote from David Mitchell in the Guardian (O’Leary’s marketing change).

    ” In fact, the cynical self-loathing British probably respond more positively to companies that show them disdain than those who try and suck up to them.”

  • mightymark

    So next up you seek refuge in scattergun insults against the “English” and/or “British” – how predictable! What a bad loser you are!

  • Pacificweather

    Thanks for the compliment but I have to confess I am also an extremely bad winner. Keep up the good work and keep that brain working!

  • mightymark

    Thanks and I’ll be sure to keep it working all right, though I shouldn’t think dealing with your arguments will prove overtaxing on your current form.

  • Pacificweather

    Whilst I am always happy for you to deal with them, I wait with anticipation for counter arguments. That way we shall improve the game.

  • mightymark

    That you fail to see my counter arguments might be thought to disqualify you from playing it. Fortunately for its future however I am tolerant enough to overlook that.

  • Pacificweather

    Most gracious.

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