The greater the challenge, the more hope Clegg has

Like Tony Blair, he came to politics relatively late, but now seems to be partly enjoying power even though poll ratings are dire

Suddenly Nick Clegg is everywhere. On Sunday, he wrote a semi-daring article calling for a debate on UK drug laws. Yesterday, he was visiting storm-hit areas before making a speech arguing it is his party that is most business-friendly.

I am working on a series for BBC Radio 4 on Clegg’s extraordinary political career, an MP for the first time in 2005 and deputy PM in a coalition five years’ later. I get the impression that, rather like Tony Blair, the greater the scale of the challenge the more Clegg is resolved to stay on. Also like Blair, he came to politics relatively late, but now seems to be partly enjoying power even though poll ratings are dire. Hope is the most potent weapon in politics. 

A leader who can hope can still be upbeat. Clegg knows there could well be another hung parliament and that, possibly, a lot of his MPs might retain their seats. When I interviewed him, he was almost warm about Labour and expressed dismay about the rightward direction of the Tory party. He would seek to deal with whichever party secures more seats in a hung parliament, and, assuming he holds his seat, I sense he plans to be around for some time, or would like to be.

Nick Clegg: The Liberal Who Came To Power, is on Radio 4, Monday, 8pm

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