Cameron recently used the term "muscular liberal" in his much aggravating speech on Multiculturalism. It was his way of reconciling the Right and Left opinions on immigration, terrorism and the EU. It was also a one dimensional, patronising and insulting comment to make as he bordered on racism, failed to address any issues and paid lip service to several groups at the same time, without, as usual, saying anything of any importance.
I would accuse Clegg of the latter in his ostentatious attempt to placate his battered and bruised party.
Liberal and Muscular
Liberalism is an ideology. I am not more a card-holding Lib Dem than I am an employee. I am a person with values and concepts.
Liberalism is a political ideology too. It is the belief in freedom and equal rights.
Neither of these things require one to be "muscular", which is as inappropriate as calling one's hair "rebellious" (this is a conditioner that has got on my nerves for a while!).
Muscular is defined as a physical attribute; and colloquially refers to "having or suggesting great forcefulness, especially at the expense of subtlety"
Now, there is something bullying and derrogatory about this understanding. It is rather like being called a bossy hippy. The two words together almost compound an oxymoron.
A blog entitled Muscular Liberal defines it's self differently;
A Muscular Liberal is someone who believes in liberal values and believes that those values must be defended and promoted.
That as a justification is far more explanatory than "muscular". But it goes on to define the antonym of Liberalism, stating "We think that because we tolerate difference we have to tolerate those who violently disagree with our way of life."
How exactly is this appreciating freedom and equality?
The blog asserts that Liberalism is a Western Value - and that cultural differences should be opposed. There is nothing liberal about definition by area, origin or etymology, nor is there anything liberal about disapproving of different cultural values.
So I am sorry Mr Clegg, I am not a muscular liberal.
I am a Liberal Democrat and I will defend that ideology happily. But I will not be compared to obstinate and unaccepting people with right wing conservatism.