PART TWO So far and yet so near…
Published in The Times 15.12.2011
Relationship analysis. Phillip Hodson
The story so far…
Previously unable to face David Cameron after Dave’s night on the tiles with the sirens of Euroscepticism, Mr Clegg positively beamed with marital pride upon his re-entry into the House of Commons this afternoon. Days and nights of comfort eating by the phone were clearly over. Dave had made it up to Nick in every possible way. The physical estrangement so evident 24 hours before had given way to a satisfied smile. Nick was a-glow. He’d heard his partner renew his coalition vows; they were back on message.
In fact, the union of Nick and Dave has turned into far more of a marriage than anyone could have dreamed. Like successful couples everywhere they have their differences but they manage them.
You can see from the photo that the balance of power is restored. Dave is chuffed to bits to be backed by Nick. Nick is thrilled to have those broad manly shoulders to protect him from that nasty Mr Milliband. Each stands by their man, or sits behind him.
As a marriage therapist I’m used to listening and looking between the lines. As far as I could tell, Nick seemed to be his old pre-election self, give or take the careful sideways movement by a tailor of one or two of his jacket buttons. He appeared less downtrodden and more like a wife who believes there’s a Cartier sparkler waiting for her under the Christmas tree.
So strong was this impression that it’s tempting to take it politically. Mr Cameron may have risked separation, even divorce, by his dalliance with the dark side but believe me Nick has subsequently been told all he wished to hear:
“Darling, it’s not you, it’s me. I’ve never done it before. It wasn’t serious. I had one drink too many. Sarkozy was such a foul host I felt lonely. It was just politics. Please let me make it up to you. I couldn’t bear it otherwise. Say you’ll come with me to the office tomorrow. Oh do!”
And he did.
Phillip Hodson is a Fellow of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy itsgoodtotalk.org.uk