April 19, 2010, 1:04 PM GMT
I wondered how long it would take before the incredible rise of Nick Clegg was compared to the wave of grief fascism that swept across Britain after the death of Princess Diana. And it has happened. “Get a flag up on that palace for Princess Nick,” writes one blogger. I think he is joking.
It does feel almost as though we are living through the political equivalent of that extraordinary period. If one had said five days ago that Britain would be covered in volcanic ash; that air transportation would have halted; that the Royal Navy and a flotilla of little boats would be heading Dunkirk-style to pick up Britons stranded abroad; and that Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats would be in the lead in the opinion polls, you might have been sectioned.
But here we all are, attempting to adjust to an altered reality. Like John Rentoul, at this stage I don’t see this stopping. Or rather, I cannot see — barring a Clegg implosion of some kind — what could possibly halt the bandwagon in the next 17 days.
The Diana comparison is not made lightly. The British have these momentary uprisings in popular feeling against the established order. For a brief period, a figure comes to personify a mood and no amount of robust cross-examination can shift it. To put it politely, those Britons involved in such a mass rebellion are often prepared to overlook certain internal-contradictions in their position.
Diana in death became a proxy for an assault on an establishment that was seen, by millions, as too stiff, formal, uncaring and lacking in emotional intelligence. In order to “show us you care,” the mob forced the Queen to concede that her grieving grandsons — two very young boys (William and Harry) — should be paraded in front of thousands of people who had never met their mother and could not be said by any reasonable definition to be grieving for her.
Diana, a Spencer who lived a life of extreme privilege, was an odd standard-bearer for an assault on the establishment, too. But that didn’t seem to matter.
And Clegg? The Prince of People’s Hearts? He’s the outsider, the face of an antipolitics movement — or anti-old politics, at least. He’s the man who will “do things differently” and is mining widespread discontent with two party politics and the Westminster village elite, particularly among younger voters. It does not seem to be about specific policies (yet). Instead, the driving force is anger with the stultifying old setup and a desire to sweep it away.
But similarly to Diana, hailing from the English aristocracy, Clegg is a creation of the political class he wants to shake up. Remember, Clegg is a professional politician who, after Westminster and Cambridge, was schooled by the Brussels elite. He then became an MEP and an MP. He is a rebel only in that he wants to smash the system and rebuild it so that it operates in his favor, but he has much in common with the opponents he attacks.
Like Diana in death, Clegg is now also beyond criticism — which entrenches his new popularity. The two leaders of the main parties are petrified of being seen as being unfair to “Nick.” They fear looking mean and out of step with these dramatic shifts in public opinion. If they attack him directly, they vindicate his claim that the two big parties are scared of their duopoly being challenged and are getting desperate. If they treat him with more respect, he continues to grow in stature.
Nick Clegg was born on January 7th, 1967 according to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nick_clegg
January 7th, 1967
1 + 7 +1+9+6+7 = 31 = his life lesson = what he is here to learn = Competition. Challenges. Tests. Contests. Contestant. Runner-up. Competitor. Contender. Opponent. Stir. Catalyst. Reaction. Risk. Controversy. Contention. Striving to be number 1. Personal best. Outdoing yourself. Rising to the challenge. Stirring things up. Stirring the pot. Provoke a reaction.
1 + 7 +2+0+1+0 = 11 = his personal year (from January 7th, 2010 to January 6th, 2011) = Fairness. Justice. Equality. Parity. Scale. Weigh. Balance. Deserve. Just desserts. Legal dealings. Outcomes. Consequences.
11 year + 4 (April) = 15 = his personal month (from April 7th, 2010 to May 6th, 2010) = Self-promotion. Marketing. Advertising. Commercials. Ads.
15 month + 19 (19th of the month on Monday April 19th, 2010) = 34 = his personal day = Speed. Quickness. Rapidity. Swiftness. Fastness. Dexterity. Agility. Nimble. Energy. Acceleration. Velocity. Rate. Quick. Quickly. Speeding up. Full throttle. Adrenaline. Races. Sprinting. Footing. Road. Lane. Traffic. Trains. Locomotive. Subway. Urgent. Hurry. Rush. Busy. Zip. Zoom. Dash. Dart. Slowing down. Brakes. Windmill. Volatile. Combustible. Implosion. Explosive. Blast. Dynamite. A fuse. Fireworks. Firecracker. Skyrocket. Blow up. Erupt. Go at the right speed. Strike while the iron’s hot. Get it while it’s hot. Things happen really quickly.