Clegg does himself no credit.

Clegg suddenly close to Cameron (

After much negotiating since the general election the UK finally has a government.

First, the Liberal Democrats spoke to the Conservatives, they then broke off talks to speak to Labour and when those talks collapsed they came back to the Conservatives and a Con-Lib coalition was concluded quickly (some might refer to it as “Con-Dem”).

We await full details, although we know that certain deals have been done on tax and electoral reform, but one thing is for sure; it is now Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.

Clegg probably can’t believe his luck.

He lost five MPs (from 62 to 57 out of the 650 available) but still has managed to get close to the reins of power. The Conservatives now have 306 seats and Labour has 258.

And of the 6,827,938 votes that the Lib Dems received we cannot be sure how many of those were just tactical votes to keep out either a Labour or Conservative candidate.

One distasteful part of this coalition government is that during the second televised debate Nick Clegg accused David Cameron of aligning himself in Europe with “nutters, anti-Semites, people who deny climate change exists and homophobes”.

He was forced to apologise by mental health campaigners for using the word “nutters”.

Things might be said in the debates for political advantage that can be then glossed over afterwards. For example, at their first press conference together on Wednesday, and to much laughter all round, Clegg found out for the first time that Cameron had previously referred to him as a “joke”. But to suggest someone is aligned with anti-Semites and homophobes is a very serious allegation.

Clegg does himself no credit in making such serious and unfounded accusations and then almost immediately going on to sit for the next five years with the man he so accuses.

And one wonders what the outcry would have been had Clegg accused Cameron of sitting with Islamophobes and then taking his seat next to him.

Cameron, who recently called east-Jerusalem “occupied”, is now PM. William Hague (Cons.), who called Israel’s actions in Lebanon in 2006 “disproportionate”, is foreign secretary. And Nick Clegg, who called for a ban on the sale of arms to Israel during operation Cast Lead, is now Deputy Prime Minister.

These three are now in control of UK foreign policy, so it could be an uncomfortable five years for British Jews and for Israel.

We will see how it all pans out but the signs will immediately be there when Israel enters its next war with Hezbollah or Hamas. Will there be an immediate outcry by Britain when Israel is forced to take defensive measures to protect its citizens?

There are a few, but not enough, very pro-Israel voices next to David Cameron to keep him on the straight and narrow when it comes to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

Michael Gove (Cons.), who wrote Celsius 7/7 as a response to Michael Moore’s Farenheit 9/11, has been appointed Education Secretary. And, to be fair, Chris Huhne, of the Lib Dems, is someone very balanced on the precarious situation in the Middle East. Huhne has been appointed Secretary for Energy and Climate Change.

It is a shame that Clegg beat Huhne for the leadership of their party in 2007.

Then there is Liam Fox (Cons.) who has been appointed Defence Secretary and who fully recognises the serious Iranian threat. In January he told The Times: “There are three reasons why we must take the threat from Iran seriously: the nature of the regime itself, its willingness to export instability and terror and its attempts to develop nuclear weapon technology. Iranian involvement in Syria and Lebanon — funding and training terrorists — continues to stoke regional tension and is an obstacle to an Israeli-Palestinian solution. That is why international pressure on Iran must increase and European action must match that taken by the United States.”

That said, over the next five years the fate of British/Israel relations could depend on how much Gove, Fox and Huhne get the chance to allow their influence to be felt while being ensconced in their own important ministry portfolios.

A good start will be to see how long this coalition takes to ban the extreme Islamist group Hiz but Tahrir, as promised by the Conservatives, and how serious the politicians are in tackling Islamism in the UK in general.

Or will Lib Dem aspirations to keep the Muslim vote on side hinder Conservative attempts to tackle radicalism in our universities.

The other very pro-Israel voices on the back-benches; Lee Scott, Robert Halfon, Matthew Offord and Richard Harrington (all Conservative) and Louise Ellman, Denis Macshane, John Mann and Luciana Berger (all Labour), will do their bit to raise awareness of Israel’s concerns in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and of anti-Semitism in general, but it may not be enough.

13 responses to “Clegg does himself no credit.

  1. modernityblog

    It won’t last that long.

  2. Good to see the dual loyalty reflex in full working order. Oy yoy!

  3. Nick Clegg: Israel’s New Yellow Peril! (Be afraid, be very afraid, mwhahaha!)

    Clegg may be a hypocrite but he did what anyone other politician would have done.

    What wrong with the word “nutters”? I thought it was rather apt, actually…

    And no, it probably won’t last long, IMHO…

  4. Hey Richard! I saw you on The Epilogue last night. Couldn’t believe my luck, here he was again, ‘my Richard’, once again on Press TV (thereby unintentionally poking out one of Modders’s eyes too!)

    And a good performance it was too, also by Ken and Ilan. The ‘ethnic cleansing denial’ at the end kind of spoiled it a little for me but no one’s perfect.

    Thanks also for winking at me at the start of the show, much obliged! 😉

  5. richardmillett

    wow, that was done ages and ages ago! Shame we hardly discussed the book at all but thanks for the praise. I’m sure you mean it….not.

  6. No, no, I meant it.

    And not even a mention of Hamas: how did you manage? 😉

  7. Are you saying you would still prefer a Labour gov and that they were more pro Israel. ?

  8. richardmillett

    We don’t know what this government will be like but it is a worry. Labour, apart from Brown, Blair, John Mann, Dennis Macshane, Louise Ellman and a handful of others were not good for Israel.
    1. Israel having to label products produced in the west bank as being “settlement produce”
    2. Israeli politicians entering the UK being arrested on the whim of one person.
    3. Ban on supply of certain military parts to Israel.
    4. Kaufman “Jewish right-wing millionaires own half of the Conservative Party”
    5. Linton “Israel’s tentacles controlling the Conservative Party” etc. etc. etc.

    But the list of the Lib Dems is far longer. They base a lot of their electioneering on the make-up of the ethnic vote in each constituency: Big Muslim population = anti-Israel, Big Jewish vote = pro-Israel.

    They bang on about equality, human rights and immigration and yet every single MP is white.

    They are a party unworthy of power. They were rejected by the British public as they actually lost MPs. The Tories should have gone it alone and not given a party like the Lib Dems a sniff of power.

  9. Richard:

    You are a Conservative and a local politician (correct me if I’m wrong on this). Is it possible that yours is a bit of a case of sour grapes? We all know that is this government is even half successful it’ll be the Lib Dem’s ticket into the mainstream. And if AV/PR comes into effect, possible the death of Conservative campaigning as we know it.

    Seems to me that even for conservative British Jews (please don’t ever accuse anyone of tribal politics!) that consideration overrides your own rather petty concerns…

  10. richardmillett

    I’m not a local politician, just highly critical of the Lib Dems. having seen how they campaign and and having heard the outbursts of many of their politicians about Israel/Palestine. I agree with you about how this could be a ticket for them into the mainstream.

  11. Blacklisted Dictator

    Of course The Tories should have tried to have gone it alone.
    When the history of the Conservative party is written for the years 2010-2015, I believe that the coalition will be viewed as having been extremely damaging.
    The question arises why would anyone ever vote Conservative again unless they want a Con-Lib coalition.

  12. Daniel Marks

    As I said earlier, yoor considerations should be as to who is best for Britain, not who is best for Israel. It was your election not ours. Anyway, I’ve often found that it’s our friends who do us the most harm, often with good intentions.

    Good luck and Hag Sameach!

    PS I hear that Gerty’s Mate is in London. You guys might want to be in touch with him.

  13. Richard,

    You are a local politician. You stood for the Conservatives in Mill Hill in 2006. Why are you pretending that this is not the case?