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Lord Bonkers' Diary: Nick Clegg’s ‘Hair-Shirt’ Tour

July 18, 2012 4:41 PM
By Jonathan Calder in Lord Bonkers Diary - Liberal England - http://liberalengland.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/lord-bonkers-diary-nick-cleggs-hair.html
Originally published by East Midlands Liberal Democrats

I have been busy in recent weeks organising an important event here in the East Midlands. I do not refer, let me hasten to add, to the visit of the 'Olympic Torch': for that piece of tomfoolery was devised by the beastly Albert Speer for the Berlin Games of 1936 and I shall have no part in it. So much so that, when it passed through Rutland, I stationed gamekeepers at every entrance to the Bonkers Hall Estate with soda siphons and strict orders to extinguish it should it show its face.

No, I am talking about my role as the regional co-ordinator of Nick Clegg's 'Hair-Shirt' Tour. The newspapers say that this has been designed by "battle-hardened strategists" in his office, but that was not my experience. I was telephoned by a 12-year-old with a cut-glass accent and, he claimed, a first in PPE from Oxford.

"We want Nick to meet all the people he has upset," the child piped.

"How long have you set aside for this?" I returned. "It could take rather a long time."

Nevertheless, I set to with a will and have put together what may fairly be described as an impressive programme of meetings.

Nick will first be taken to the University of Rutland at Belvoir, where the students remain rather cut up about his breaking that pledge he made on tuition fees. I would not worry too much about its famed Department of Hard Sums if I were him - those fellows tend to have thick glasses and their minds on higher things - but the chaps from the Department of Cryptozoology can cut up rough when the mood takes them. Not only that: they have an impressive menagerie to hand if they choose to deploy it: gryphons, dragons, cockatrice - you know the sort of thing.

Then it is on to Melton Mowbray to meet a delegation of disgruntled pork pie makers - those things can be surprisingly painful if they catch you just under the rib cage. After that, Nick will be entertained by unemployed Stilton miners. The tour will close with a meeting with civil liberties campaigners aghast at the government's plans to snoop on all our conversations by telephone and electric internet. "I expect you know already," I said when writing to Nick to confirm arrangements.

After that little lot, I image Nick will be in need of a stiff measure of Auld Johnston (that most prized of Highland malts) and a little rest and recuperation, so I have included a boat trip on Rutland Water in the programme of events. What Nick does not know, however, is that I have told Ruttie that I recently heard him making disobliging comments about plesiosaurs - that should certainly enable him to "welcome the hatred"!

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