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article imageOp-Ed: Nick Clegg gets it wrong twice in two days

By Alexander Baron     Nov 25, 2011 in Politics
Unlike David Cameron, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has a well earned reputation for thinking before he opens his mouth; his two latest pronouncements, however, leave much to be desired.
Unlike the Eton-educated David Cameron, Nick Clegg cannot be said to be out of touch with the lower middle and working classes, nor with the underclass, but this week he has been playing to the gallery. Clegg is no mug, he speaks fluent Dutch and equally fluent Spanish, but on racial issues he talks rubbish.
Yesterday, the headline in the Guardian was Nick Clegg accuses banks of racism; the BBC was more moderate with Nick Clegg targets racial 'ceiling' in banks and sport. This was a comment on his delivering the Scarman Memorial Lecture in which he lapsed into the usual nonsense of statistical racism to explain perceived inequalities and underachievement by especially blacks. And as usual when politicians kowtow to this sort of nonsense, he was barking up the wrong tree.
Banks and football clubs were his targets; let's take football clubs first. As with banks there is a “racial ceiling” he said. His quite facile argument directed at these racist clubs was that a quarter of all players are black, yet there are no black managers in the Premier League. So?
And it is wrong that only two of the 92 league clubs have a black boss. Wrong because?
He does not pose the question why are a quarter of all players black? Is a quarter of the population black? Clearly not.
“Real equality is not just the absence of prejudice. It is the existence of fairness and opportunity too” , he said. True, but he is confusing equality of opportunity with equality of outcome. Why does he assume that black players aspire to become managers? Why are there hardly any Asian soccer players? Because Asians play cricket. This is meaningless, statistical drivel.
As if this were not bad enough, when he turned to the banks and the economy in general, he began talking total gibberish.
“Why is it that members of some of our ethnic communities want to start their own businesses, but their success doesn't match their ambitions?”
That's a good question. Why doesn't every rock band sell a million albums and make number one in the download charts? We all have ambitions, but only the precious few will see them realised.
“We know, for example, that 35% of individuals from black African origin say they want to start a business, but only 6% actually do. Are they having problems accessing the loans they need?”
We are all having problems accessing the money we need, including the Government, that's why you and Call Me Dave are implementing cuts, Nick.
Mr Clegg is implying that banks should lend more to aspiring black businessmen. In the first place, banks do not lend money, they create credit - big difference, Nick. In the second place, while black businessmen - aspiring and otherwise - are no doubt starved of credit as are their white counterparts, it is not these people who really need the help but the black underclass and the underclass of all races. The following day, today, Mr Clegg proposed a solution to that problem, unfortunately, again he chose the wrong solution because he doesn't understand what the real problem is.
According to the Guardian, the Government has announced a £1billion fund “to help prevent another lost generation of young jobless people.”
This money will be spent over three years and “will provide opportunities including job subsidies, apprenticeships and work experience placements for 500,000 unemployed people.”
Sounds impressive, doesn't it?
“The government will subsidise 160,000 work places by providing £2,275 to any private sector business willing to hire an unemployed person aged 18 to 24 years old.”
That was the carrot, now here comes the stick:
“Any young person taken on will have to complete the placement or be refused benefits. Each subsidy will last for six months, and will be available to all young people who have been on jobseeker's allowance for nine months. All employers will be expected to pay at least the minimum wage, and the subsidy will more than cover the cost of an employer's national insurance.”
Great Nick, but where is the money coming from? Either out of the public purse, or from the banks - at interest.
Instead of subisidising employers, why not advance similar sums to those credit starved black entrepreneurs you are so concerned about? And instead of borrowing the money from the banks, or robbing Peter to pay Paul, why not create the credit for this enterprise debt-free?
Oh, there is the little matter of the Treaty of Maastricht that prevents that. Okay, sign the petition to get rid of it, 50 signatures as of 12.15pm today: 99,950 to go before we can get it debated in Parliament.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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