Keep going, Clegg
Nick Clegg is the most underrated Lib Dem leader of recent years. He does not have the personal charisma of some of his predecessors. When he speaks, the ground does not shake in a Gladstonian fashion. But he has pulled his quarrelsome, recalcitrant party into the most recognisably liberal position it has occupied for decades. A tax policy based on hitting capital and inheritance rather than income - and removing those earning less than £10,000 a year from tax altogether - is music to the ears of all radicals. On civil liberties, on constitutional reform and localism the party leaves the other two in the dust.
Clegg has now strengthened the social liberal side of his party's agenda too, not least with a push on gay rights. Clegg wants to give gay couples the right to be legally 'married'; to insist that teachers treat homosexuality as 'normal'; to allow asylum to those being persecuted in their home countries for their sexuality; and reverse the AIDS-inspired ban on gay men giving blood. It has served as a reminder that there is still plenty of room for further advances on the social liberal front. It has been portrayed as a bid for the 'pink vote' and as an attempt to expose the Tory claims to liberalism as hollow. (I think that the pundits underestimate how far the gay rights agenda appeals to anybody under the age of 40.) No doubt electoral calculations have been made. But Clegg is also doing it because it is the right thing to do. Add to this his correct comments on the Conservative plans as a 'tax bribe...for holding a marriage certificate' and his attack on Cameron's idea of a numeral cap on immigration, it is clear that Clegg is a radical liberal to his fingertips. And there are precious few around. Keep going, Nick.