Monday, May 17, 2021

Cameron, Alexander, Osborne, Clegg: How the Austerity ‘Quad’ Sold Their Souls

THE GUARDIAN: The 2010 coalition was a disaster. Its leaders have done little to restore their reputation

It was excruciating. To watch a former British prime minister before a committee of MPs last week trying to explain away his aggressive lobbying of ex-colleagues on behalf of Greensill, which has since collapsed into insolvency, was as humiliating as it was distressing. That we are citizens of a country whose former leader can behave in such a way is shocking. He claimed that lobbying for Greenshill was consistent with a commitment to public service. Really?

Worse was the glaring mismatch between the former puritan apostle of austerity – we are all in this together – and the compromising of such values. And not only him. In varying degrees, the other three members of the coalition quad – chancellor George Osborne, deputy prime minister Nick Clegg and chief secretary Danny Alexander, who together imposed “peak austerity” between 2010 and 2015 – have all walked away from the public square only to raise major questions about how their new lives are consistent with their old and thus the credibility of what all politicians say as they vie for support. Our democracy is the weaker. » | Will Hutton | Sunday, May 16, 2021