Thursday, 20 September 2012

Nick Clegg tuition fees apology won't stem PR tide against him

Doug Guthrie, Dean of the Washington School of Business, argued that courageous and creative leadership requires an ability to admit mistakes.

This argument lies in the perceived value of authenticity, something Nick Clegg was striving for last night. It is not, however, quite as authentic to own up to a mistake a year later at a time of a record low in their approval ratings.

Nick Clegg's 'unprecedented' apology comes at a time before conference when the Lib Dems are granted a few days in the limelight, yet this attempt to draw a line under his biggest clanger will fall flat.

With a timing more cycnical than a 2am chat up line, Nick Clegg is going to seem just as desperate. He could have delivered this line before the night truly got going - or before he become patsy for his senior coalition partners.

There is, undoubtedly, a part of Clegg that belives this approach will enable him to regain trust, yet it doesn't help that in previous interviews he said he had nothing to apologise for - and he also failed to show contrition over the new £9k university fees.

After a summer of sport where the only boos came from George Osborne, Nick should thanks his stars he wasn't paraded at the Olympic stadium in such a way - there would have been a riot.

It's a shame, really, as the Lib Dems have flown to close to the sun and been badly burnt. It's going to take policy and actions, not words, to begin any sort of fightback. Thus, if Nick was really sorry, he should say it with a brave new policy idea - but it seems the think tank is empty after his failed gamble on AV and Lords reform.

So, let's just say 'I don't agree with Nick'.

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