"Unlike, say, America and France, we use a single vote to determine both who we want to represent us in parliament and who we want to govern us. Unlike most European countries, we also have highly centralised government that (bar Scotland, Wales and, to a lesser extent, London) leaves the country with no alternative sources of political authority to Westminster and Whitehall. That one vote is more or less the sum total of the ordinary citizen's influence over how the country and its public services, from health to education, are run. And as we have seen, coalition largely destroys even that slither of influence."
By his act of betrayal, Clegg will lose his greatest reward | Peter Wilby: