When Gordon Brown uttered the now immortal words “I agree with Nick” during the televised Leader’s Debate of the 2010 General Election campaign, he could not have realised that he had effectively sounded a death knell on the Liberal Party for a decade.
And, at the time, it had all looked so very different. It was as though those four words––“I agree with Nick”––were one of those moments in Time, that all Dr Who fans will recognise as a pivotal turning point, when the direction of the future could follow one of two entirely divergent paths.
After the Leader’s Debate, Liberal leader Nick Clegg’s approval rating was at an all-time high; support for the Liberals soared; some polls even had them ahead of both the Tories and Labour at one point. It seemed as though the unthinkable might happen: a third party might break the political stranglehold of the Big Two. Just think of it: the Liberals voted to power for the first time in a hundred years; Nick “I agree with Nick” Clegg as Prime Minister; a radical overhaul of the voting system to bring in a system of proportional representation; a celebration of the middle-ground, with Left and Right united as one big, happy family. Except it never happened.
Instead, a Liberal victory became the path less travelled. History took the second course: a collapse of public support at the time of the actual vote; an unpopular coalition (from a Liberal standpoint); and a lovers-scorned-backlash in the General Election of 2015.
And so here we are today: yesterday’s would-be Utopians left with little more than a flagship policy of legalising cannabis.
Well, I for one won’t be smoking with them again for a while yet.
© Beery Sue
Cigarette image © Ron Cruz
Beery Sue is looking for something more to get high about.