Ruth Dudley Edwards: Nick and Dave still wedded
The British prime minister is in tune with the public in a way that Nick Clegg is not, writes Ruth Dudley Edwards
Published 18/12/2011 | 05:00
'The sight of Cameron and Clegg staring fondly into each other's eyes," wrote the journalist Richard Littlejohn in May 2010, "stands in welcome contrast to the ghastly, self-serving politics of venality, resentment, hatred and mendacity honed and prosecuted by Gordon Brown."
And so it did. What Littlejohn christened the "Brokeback Mountain-style love-in" was a real pleasure to the many voters who were sick of dirty, angry politics. Seeing a coalition negotiated with grace, courtesy and even humour raised national morale.
The problems David Cameron and Nick Clegg have in their relationship are personality clashes. These two clever, reasonable, courteous and charming products of first-rate public schools (Eton and Westminster) and universities (Oxford and Cambridge) get on just fine. Born only three months apart (they are 45 and 44), there isn't that much to choose between their politics -- except when it comes to Europe. Both are socially liberal modernisers who believe in free trade and responsible capitalism, care about civil liberties and are suspicious of statism.