Saturday, 10 September 2011

Clegg "a two-bit opportunist" over Megrahi

[The following is one paragraph from a column by Ian Jack in today's edition of The Guardian headed There is a new, unexpected feeling in Scotland: a pity for the state of England:]

From its beginnings, modern Scottish nationalism at its demotic level has fed from ideas of victimhood, or what Annabel Goldie, the leader (still) of the Scottish Tories, once called the culture of "girn and grievance". It would be unwise to imagine this has vanished for good; there may be all kinds of London-Edinburgh quarrels between now and the referendum on independence in which the finger of blame is pointed firmly south. But at the moment, from the Scottish perspective, England looks a more fractious, turbulent and uncertain society. Its innovations look like stunts; while Scotland plans to save money by amalgamating police forces, for example, England's route to efficiency is by electing police commissioners. Its politicians are both shriller and more callow. When Nick Clegg called for the dying Abdelbaset al-Megrahi to be re-imprisoned, Salmond calmly pointed out that it was undesirable on compassionate grounds, and in any case impossible, because Libya's transitional government would never agree to it. Clegg came out of the exchange like a two-bit opportunist at the Oxford Union.

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