The Tory tabloids have gone to town. This Daily Mail quote from Clegg in 2002 is the most potentially damaging:

"Watching Germany rise from its knees after the war and become a vastly more prosperous nation has not been easy on the febrile British psyche. All nations have a cross to bear, and none more so than Germany with its memories of Nazism. But the British cross is more insidious still. A misplaced sense of superiority, sustained by delusions of grandeur and a tenacious obsession with the last war, is much harder to shake off. We need to be put back in our place."

I have to say there's a lot here that I agree with.

The greatness of Churchill and the triumph in the Second World War did present Britain with a crippling post-war legacy. How do you move forward when you have already been told that, if the British empire were to last a thousand years, 1940 was its finest hour? American pols always point forward, but post-war British pols and people looked backwards.

That shifted in the 1990s at long last. And yes, it was an insidious burden. And yes, it did prevent a more ruthless assessment of economic reality. In this, I think, Clegg is saying something important and true. But we'll see if in the debate this afternoon, it comes back to haunt him.

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