For full disclosure I must admit from the beginning that it was Nick Clegg’s TV duel with Nigel Farage that got me into politics and the LibDems.
So, naturally, I was biased from the start, but also very afraid that the book would disappoint me, especially since Clegg was about to confess some errors he made during his time in office.
Yet this refreshing ability to admit his faults and errors, explain the thinking behind some of the more controversial decisions and stand by some unpopular policies only makes me more convinced that in a world of corruption and cynicism there are still some very good guys around, and Nick Clegg might just be one of them.
Unlike other political memoirs, this book goes directly into policy decisions and specific issues that were part of the LibDem’s time in Coalition government. It provides a lot of insight into the way a coalition is run, how this particular coalition was run and how it could be improved.
Clegg rarely puts the blame for things gone wrong on others but takes his share of the blame without hesitation. Self-critical, yet analytical and constructive, his observations and thoughts are definitely worth listening to if you want to understand the complexities of politics. This is no revenge or ‘tell-all’ disclosure to come clean or come out of it smelling of roses, but a fascinating glimpse into four years of British politics.
It is particularly relevant as Clegg focuses so much on the current trend of extremism and gives us some food for thought on the political landscape of our time. The need for politics of reason and moderation is greater than it was for a long time.
Coming from Germany, which has a decades spanning tradition of coalition governments I am maybe very accepting of the compromises the LibDems made in their time in government, seeing them as necessary and unavoidable. I recommend to anyone to read this book to learn just a little more about that topic alone.
I’ve seen Nick Clegg at the Party Conference and heard him speak several times, and always found him reasonable and convincing. I listened to this on audiobook and found him reading it himself useful, as it minimises potential misinterpretations. So here’s my verdict:
Highly recommended (although admittedly from a fan).
Next up for me to read is: