CommentIsLinked@LDV: Nick Clegg – 'Freedom is taking a battering under kneejerk New Labour'

by Stephen Tall on December 11, 2008

Over at The Guardian’s Comment Is Free blog yesterday, Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg wrote about Jack Straw’s attack on the Human Rights Act. (An issue which has also today provoked the ire of Lib Dem peer Lord Lester). Read it in full here, but here’s an excerpt of Nick’s trenchant critique:

The justice secretary is picking a meaningless fight to generate a favourable headline, while conning opponents of the Human Rights Act into believing that he’s saying something of greater significance. In short, it’s sly populism of the worst kind. …

At a time of acute national economic crisis, kneejerk populism from the government will inflame a culture of blame and vilification, fragmenting communities exactly when people need to hang together. Diversity and tolerance are easy to defend in the good times. The real test for political leaders is whether they’re prepared to defend them in bad times too.