It’s time we all forgave Nick Clegg

There are far more deserving receptacles for your bourgeoisie loathing.

clegg

Most of you reading this (Mum excepted, Hi Mum!) were directly affected by the dropping of the Lib Dems’ fees pledge.

Although most of us were too young in 2010 to be climbing on war memorials and smashing the windows of evil central (Conservative Party headquarters), many undoubtedly resent the guy who for the past 5 years has looked like the saddest man in modern politics.

Old Cleggers is one of us,  he went to Robinson, got himself a 2.1 in Arch and Anth, is a Radiohead fan and apparently slept with over 30 women, before becoming Deputy Prime Minister, giving hope to Arch and Anthers everywhere.

He put up with this architecture for three whole years

He put up with this architecture for three whole years.

He’s a good, upper-middle-class centrist with whom you could probably share a pint. He’s not an obnoxious Cameron, an edgy Farage, nor a creepy Miliband. Over the past few years, he has probably been the nicest guy to lead a major party, which admittedly probably isn’t saying much. Yet a pretty significant fraction of the student body feels the need to viciously attack Nick Clegg as a modern day Judas.

No albatrosses around my neck

No albatrosses around my neck.

Ultimately, your hatred of the man comes down to self-interest. I frankly doubt that you feel genuinely sorry for the Animation students who’ve been put off enrolling at Edge Hill University because they worry about paying off their loan. More likely, you think about the £27,000 albatross that will be slung around your neck when you leave the Bridge, and attribute its existence to the mild-mannered man who left the institution in 1989.

Let’s be blunt, it isn’t actually an albatross. More like a seagull, which you get to take off bit by bit at what is a very gentle pace compared to pretty much any loan you can get anywhere. A lot of you will be heading straight for The City and so could probably smash the lot with your first bonus. Those of you remaining pure to your respective fields probably won’t ever have to pay it off (after all, what kind of ASNAC graduate earns more than £21,000 a year?).

Less an albatross, more a seagul...

Less an albatross, more a seagull.

It’s very easy to forget that Clegg was actually a pretty strong mitigating force upon the Conservatives, helping to stop the weakening of the Hunting Act, the privatisation of motorways and, of course, the Snooper’s Charter (if you happen to care). More importantly, the man is a pretty great source of memes, which I’m fairly sure constituent 80% of the reasons for the people’s voting intentions nowadays.

Sure, he is an incredibly easy target. His constant apologies, his tearful looks, the sense you get that he just doesn’t want to do it anymore, and would rather be somewhere in rural Yorkshire, writing children’s books about liberal farm animals. At this point, it’s like jeering the kid who dropped his dinner tray at school. The man lost 48 of his 56 MPs – he probably feels bad enough as it is.

He may not have blocked tuition fee rises, he may have got in bed with the evilest group of people on the planet, but it’s important to realise his intentions were good. By and large, the effects of the tuition fee rises have been good for social mobility when compared with tuition fee free Scotland, where far fewer low-income students go to university.

There are far more deserving receptacles for your bourgeoisie loathing.