Credit where it's due?

  • 25 January 2013
  • From the section UK Politics
  • comments

Under the standing orders of journalism, Her Majesty's Press isn't allowed to say anything positive about Nick Clegg - but maybe his comment that the Coaltion perhaps, slashed government capital spending too much deserves something better than a blast of scorn.

Most politicians pretend to an absurd level of infallibility….but anyone who watches public policy unfold can see that things go wrong rather a lot.

In the grown-up world, real people make mistakes, or try approaches to difficult problems that don't work out. That applies to public policy as much as to any other walk of life, and perhaps it should be possible for political leaders to say so, and to think aloud about alternatives.

Or do we really want our leaders to persist with policies they have come to believe are mistaken, or at least in need of adjustment, rather than risk being lynched for admitting error?

It will be interesting to see how Labour play Mr Clegg's remarks at next week's Treasury Questions in the Commons, on Tuesday. At the moment, most economic debate in the Commons is a kind of ritual combat, an exchange of empty slogans and pre-scripted soundbites.

Perhaps the public would appreciate a little more honesty, and maybe humility.

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