The boy who knew too much: a child prodigy

This is the true story of scientific child prodigy, and former baby genius, Ainan Celeste Cawley, written by his father. It is the true story, too, of his gifted brothers and of all the Cawley family. I write also of child prodigy and genius in general: what it is, and how it is so often neglected in the modern world. As a society, we so often fail those we should most hope to see succeed: our gifted children and the gifted adults they become. Site Copyright: Valentine Cawley, 2006 +

Monday, May 10, 2010

Nick Clegg's dilemma.

Nick Clegg now faces a peculiar dilemma, one that is most unenviable in many ways. He is stuck between doing the right thing, by his principles, or the right thing, by his ambition. It seems likely that he cannot have both.

Nick Clegg's principles dictate that he should support the party that won the "most votes and most seats" in the General Election of Great Britain, 2010. Now, this would be the Conservative (Tory) Party. They won the most seats - at 306 - but not enough to be able to rule, successfully, without the backing of another party. So, Nick Clegg's principles state that he should support the Conservatives and come to some sort of coalition deal with them. That would satisfy what he says are his moral guiding principles, in this situation. However, there is a complication. Nick Clegg's ambition is to secure electoral reform, such that proportional representation is introduced into Britain. This would mean that the Liberal Democrats would play a much greater role in government FOREVER, were it enacted. At every subsequent election, the Liberal Democrats would secure a significant number of seats and are likely to have real power, forever after.

Yet, the party offering a referendum on proportional representation is NOT the Conservatives, but the Labour Party. The Conservatives have offered an "inquiry" on electoral reform, but, as yet, have not stated that they would offer a referendum on PR (though their stance may soften and change, which must be Nick Clegg's hope). What heightens the importance of this situation, is that the Liberal Democrats only have this one chance to secure proportional representation, because only in a rare hung parliament, do they have this bargaining power. This is the first hung parliament in well over thirty years - and Nick Clegg might be dead and gone before the next one.

Thus, Nick Clegg must choose between his principles or his ambitions. He must choose to back the Conservatives, and probably lose the chance of bringing in proportional representation (unless circumstances change) or he can choose his ambitions, and secure proportional representation through Labour's referendum.

The choice is even more complicated than it seems. You see, if Nick Clegg chooses to support the Labour Party (which lost around a 100 seats in the election), he would forever tarnish the name of his party, in many eyes, by supporting a party that has failed Britain. Should he turn his back on his principles, and go for his ambitions, Nick Clegg could destroy the Liberal Democrats.

Thus, Nick Clegg's choices are far from easy. With the Conservatives, he may abide by his principles, but alienate sectors of his own party. With Labour, he may succeed in his electoral reform ambitions, but ruin the reputation of his party, with the nation, for thrusting aside his principles and siding with a party that has singularly failed Britain, in recent years.

I hope Nick Clegg has a wisdom as great as his apparent charm - for now, what he needs, is more of the former, than the latter - though the latter may win over any objections within his own party, and without.

I should point out that I know Nick Clegg. We were at Robinson College, at Cambridge University together. We were exact contemporaries. However, I did not keep touch with him, after I left. It seems surreal, however, that one of the first people I met at Cambridge University (for he was one of the people present in my first few social gatherings at Cambridge), should turn out to be in a position of real power, in the UK, now. Nick Clegg must choose whom to back and thus, which party to empower to become Britain's government. Should he choose well, history will thank him for it. Should he choose poorly, history will damn him. So, he is faced with great opportunity and great peril. He has the chance, as few have, to write himself into the history books. He also has the chance to forever mar whatever good name he has.

Nick Clegg now faces a true and searching test of character. For it is character that will decide the fate of the UK and of Nick Clegg himself. Should he choose principles, over ambition, he will seen by history to have been a man of integrity. Should he choose ambition, over principles, he could very well permanently empower his party, in British politics, and himself, for the duration of his life - but lose the good will of history, for how it might judge his nature.

Now, cannot be an easy time for Nick Clegg. Nor is it an easy time for the UK. I hope Nick Clegg reflects carefully on his decisions and comes to the choice that is best for the country, and not just for his party, or self - for in the end, that is what politics should be about: serving the best long-term interests of one's country. Now, more than at any time, in living memory, Britain needs decisions of integrity from its politicians. I hope Nick Clegg proceeds, therefore, to be guided by a sense of what is right, for his nation and earns, thereby, the respect and thanks of posterity.

Best of luck Nick, on the days ahead, for Britain's sake.

(If you would like to learn more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, 10, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, 6 and Tiarnan, 4, this month, please go to:

I also write of gifted education, child prodigy, child genius, adult genius, savant, megasavant, HELP University College, the Irish, the Malays, Singapore, Malaysia, IQ, intelligence and creativity.

My Internet Movie Database listing is at:
Ainan's IMDB listing is at
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This blog is copyright Valentine Cawley. Unauthorized duplication is prohibited. Use only with permission. Thank you.)

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 12:09 AM 


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