Nick Clegg..Politics: Between the extremes
Nick Clegg’ s book ,Politics: Between the extremes is an attempt to suggest how the politics of reason and reform – the politics of the centre ground – can compete with the politics of anger and grievance, which is on the rise across the developed world.
While discussing in a Reading group,in Libya, where we have a UN recognized Government of National Accord, we found very interesting Clegg’ s idea that a Government of National unity would be better able to handle contentious issues like immigration, pensions, inequality, nationalism.
ORIGINS OF LIBERALISM
REASON AS CORE
Modern liberalism stems from the enlightenment, from the power of science, from the Reformation and the rejection of divine rule. At its heart is a belief that the individual – not the tribe, the community, the nation or the divine monarch – is sovereign and that, by way of reason, the liberty of the individual can be enhanced and protected.
The book goes through the inner workings of the Coalition government
giving good insight into the institutional, financial,political issues that have to be handled to get Reform
Clegg examines in good detail,the three areas where Liberals should work upon
Clegg argues against complacency as
this fails to recognise the growing threat that illiberal, extremist ideas can – when taken up by individuals with disturbed minds – provide the impetus for extreme political violence. He gives examples of
the slaying of forty-nine people in a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, on 12 June 2016 and the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox in her Yorkshire constituency.
LESSONS TO LEARN…from deliberate violent targetting of the tolerant
When populists use dog whistles, some mad dogs will bark.
Clegg quotes American economist Robert Gordon ,who predicts that the future growth in consumption for the vast bulk of society – with only the richest exempt – could fall below 0.5 per cent per year, for an extended period of decades. His analysis is in part based on his scepticism about the benefits of the latest wave of digital innovation. Gordon argues – that these innovations are not nearly as significant for the productivity of the economy when compared to the inventions of previous technological revolutions, such as electricity, the internal combustion engine or even indoor toilets.
He studies the analysis of Reserve Bank of India Governor ,Raghuram Rajan
In essence, Raghuram Rajan, the Reserve Bank governor in India, and others, say that,as the rich have got richer and invested more of their money in savings and in assets, notably property, the stagnant wages of the poor are supplemented by ever-higher levels of borrowing. This cycle of asset-rich gains at the top and growing indebtedness at the bottom of society keeps the merry-go-round of demand and growth going for a while, but inevitably hits the buffers when borrowing becomes unsustainable, property bubbles burst and banking crises ensue.
In the BBC Hardtalk program, Stephen.Sackur had tried to argue that the Lib Dem participation in the Coalition was a huge mistake, for which Clegg’s leadership.was to blame.
Clegg had made the case that by joining the government, they had more leverage and had effected considerable changes which had long term.cindequences
In.the section.on Inequality, Clegg illustrates in.detail,two such areas.
People build up two main assets during their lifetime: a home and a pension. It is in these two areas that the greatest and most controversial reforms are needed.
TRIPLE LOCK SYSTEM
The Lib Dems pioneered the
‘triple lock’ by which the state pension increases automatically by prices, wages or 2.5 per cent, whichever is highest.
The third greatest challenge that the politics of reason must meet is part cultural, part psychological: the need to create a shared sense of belonging, of modern patriotism, especially in the wake of the gaping divisions in society that were exposed by the EU referendum.
Clegg illustrates through examples of Scottish and English nationalism, while quoting Orwell, what liberalism can offer
An accommodation with plurality:
the idea that you can be any number of different things, identify with any number of different groups, and also be a patriotic liberal; that you can hail from different communities, faiths and viewpoints and yet share patriotic, bedrock belief in tolerance, human rights and open discourse.
REASON WILL TRIUMPH OVER UNREASON
Clegg’s well researched book, with insider insights is educative and can also find application in any Organization – business or Civil.society- where humans gather, as we always encounter extreme opinions, ( who know everything)
Open, moderate debate is a sign of strength, not weakness. Give-and-take is a sign of maturity, not feebleness. A faith in evidence in policy is a sign of rigour, not indecision.
USEFUL INSIGHTS: Reading group questions
Clegg as an insider of the liberal movement tells about Roy Jenkins.
Roy Jenkins is a hero of the liberal left for two reasons. The first is that he was the most liberal Home Secretary of the twentieth century, who, in just under two years in the Home Office in 1966 and 1967, oversaw the end of capital punishment and the legalisation of homosexuality and abortion.
TASK: Read this chapter, and state the points which Clegg uses by illustrating the political journeys of two different generations of Liberals.
Our views were formed not just by the harsh injustices of 1980s Conservatism, but by the rise and fall of New Labour between 1997 and 2010.
Question: After reading this section, tell what is the personal relation of Clegg to the Tenko, a series about the experience of British, Dutch and Australian women prisoner in a Japanese camp.
Politics: Between the extremes,Nick.Clegg
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING
Dream from my father, Barack Obama