If you ask me, Nick Clegg’s claim he knew nothing about the sexual harassment allegations against Lord Rennard, followed by an admission that he actually did proves, beyond any doubt, he is the absolute master of the of the U-turn. This is maddening for anyone who voted for him in the hope, for example, that he would stick to his word with regard to tuition fees, or would prove the sort of mensch who would one day take accusations of molestation seriously, but, please, spare a thought for his wife, Miriam, who has to live with it day in, day out, which is quite a thing.
Indeed, as she has said, she must now do all their motorway driving “as Nick can make his U-turns without any warning, and at speed, which is completely terrifying”. In fact, there is very little she can now trust him with. Just the other day, she asked him to pick up some aspirin on his way home, as she had a headache, but did he? He did not. And as he told her: “True, I used to feel your pain, but as of yesterday afternoon, when I performed one of my U-turns, it is simply no longer my policy.”
The U-turn is, of course, an essential skill for politicians generally – according to the British School of Votering, you cannot get your politician’s licence and be let loose on voters without it – but no one has perfected these turns quite as expertly as Mr Clegg who, it is now more than clear, said one thing to get the gig, then quite another once he got into office. To perform such turns, the BSV offers the following instructions:
- Before you make your U-turn, check both ways to see that the evidence is mounting against you, that it’s a cul-de-sac, that there is no other way out, and that you are a weak-minded disappointment without a single shred of integrity left to your name.
- If you see there is a sign cautioning against U-turns, and you ignore it, you must be prepared to later offer a televised apology, as if this makes it any better, or even makes amends.
- To make the actual turn, signal right, check over your shoulder for David Cameron urging you on, think of your office and that nice mahogany desk, then pull to the right as strongly as you can. (Although you never thought you could pull to the right with such strength, there is every chance you will surprise even yourself by just how right you can go.)
And next week? I will be advising you how to backpedal your way out of trouble by pedalling, backwards, as this is something Mr Clegg appears to have mastered, too.