Nick Clegg must grow up or leave a legacy of wreckage

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Opinion digest: the legacies of Nick Clegg and the Olympics, and how Fifty Shades saved publishing

LAST UPDATED AT 10:35 ON Thu 9 Aug 2012

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NICK CLEGG'S LEGACY: A TRAIL OF WRECKAGE
BRUCE ANDERSON ON THE LIB DEMS' FUTURE
The Liberal Democrats' defeat on Lords reform has brought out Nick Clegg's sullen side, says Bruce Anderson in The Daily Telegraph. His subsequent rejection of Tory-backed boundary changes has prompted some to suggest that Clegg would like to leave a legacy of wreckage. Alternatively, the Lib Dems could grow up and move forward. They could help the Tories to make the argument for austerity, which might enhance their own credibility. "The alternative is to start bleating that it was all a hideous mistake and that we Liberals should never have gone into partnership with the Tories" – hardly a persuasive election address. The Lib Dems could also come up with a policy or two that is sensible, practical, popular and not too expensive. "Sensible, practical, popular: that does not sound impossible." They just have to break the political habits of a lifetime.

ACT NOW TO STOP THE GOLD TURNING INTO DROSS
MATTHEW PINSENT ON TEAM GB'S LEGACY
Australia's success at the Sydney 2000 games became a yardstick for Australian pride and national belief, says Matthew Pinsent in The Times. Twelve years on, the Australian effort has been reduced to rubble. From 58 medals in Sydney, they now seem to be struggling to get 35. We may enjoy ribbing them, but the question remains: how will we avoid this happening to us? All sports in Team GB know that funding will be cut. We have been living in an Olympic bubble in the years leading up to the London Games. But when the ticket tape is swept away, the recession is still here and funding will be harder to come by. The real key is participation through schemes that introduce a variety of sports to children. But that needs money and commitment from politicians. If we get it right, it could be the start of something special. "If we get it wrong, we'll always look back at London and be wistful".

SOME MAY CARP, BUT FIFTY SHADES IS A SPANKING SUCCESS
PHILIP JONES ON PUBLISHING
Some have carped about the literary merit of E.L. James's bonkbusters, says Philip Jones in The Guardian, but in publishing terms, the Fifty Shades books are a "magnificent achievement". It might be too much to say the erotic bestsellers are single-handedly dragging publishing out of recession, but thanks to Fifty Shades sales, this July was the strongest month for physical book sales since 2007. The modern book trade has never felt more existentially challenged. Self-publishers (now known as indie authors) are outselling many traditionally published writers. But "Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele, the over-sexed protagonists of James's trilogy, are spanking the bottom of despair". James's publisher Random House, and booksellers selling printed copies of the book are smiling. Fifty Shades reminds us why the publishing industry important. It "crystallises what it means to put an author in touch with a reader: a relationship that can be both bountiful and long-lasting". · 

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