Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Clegg For Leader


Matthew D'Ancona joins Iain Dale in urging the LibDems to choose Nick Clegg- even though the latter is backing Ming:

'On Newsnight, Mr Clegg appeared to plead Sir Menzies's case. He was articulate and well-mannered, like the front-runner himself. Unlike Sir Menzies, however, Mr Clegg exuded impatience and readiness for the fight. If you turned the sound off - a trick beloved of New Labour spin doctors - you saw not a benign caretaker, but a man in a hurry. Sir Menzies exudes stability; Mr Clegg exudes urgency.

Turn the sound back on, and you discover that what Mr Clegg has to say is spot on for his party and its future. He is acutely conscious of the threat of a revitalised Conservative Party. He does not think that "clobbering middle England is the solution to our problems either economically or politically".

And I must say, the more you find out about him, the more compelling he becomes.For one thing, he's great on telly, and sails through the Mrs T "he's-the-one" test that picked Cameron.

What's more, he has some pretty compelling ideas- for example, he says "it would be really, really daft to rule out any model from Europe or elsewhere" and that "breaking up the NHS is exactly what you do need to do". That's much bolder than David Cameron, and frankly much more to my liking.

"Like his fellow contributors to the often-cited (if little-read) Orange Book, he has grasped that the third party has greater freedom to be imaginative and radical in its proposals, and that this is its only hope of distinctiveness on the increasingly crowded centre ground."

Which leaves me in a quandry. A Clegg Lib Dem party sounds like just the kind of party I'd always thought the Tories could be.

Wonder what the membership fees are.

5 Comments:

Blogger James Hellyer said...

"For one thing, he's great on telly, and sails through the Mrs T "he's-the-one" test that picked Cameron."

While that test may tell you who can win a leadership election it tells you nothing about the quality of the potential leader. 'Cos let's face it, Cameron is rubbish.

10:50 AM  
Blogger Richard Allen said...

At the rate we are going the next election will be a choice between Cameron, Clegg and Miliband. I of course use the word choice in the loosest possible sense because frankly you might as well flip a coin.

6:42 PM  
Anonymous Valerie said...

Fortunately for us, he's not going to disappear in a puff of smoke just because he's not running for leader.

One reason I'm glad that he, David Laws and some of other other best minds aren't standing now is that they'd be branded the LD Cameron, which would only be to their detriment given how lightweight DC's becoming.

8:14 PM  
Blogger Andrew said...

A Clegg Lib Dem party sounds like just the kind of party I'd always thought the Tories could be.

Careful, Wat. Although superficially attractive, the majority of their members are still old fashioned social democrats, and that instinct will die hard at Westminster. Just because Clegg is sound, doesn't mean he would be able to push forward a decent agenda. The Libs are still a bunch of unprincipled power-hungry sharks who'll stoop to anything to win.

7:32 PM  
Blogger James Hellyer said...

Andrew, what about the Conservatives? Cameron is fundamentally unsound and that seems... okay in westminster. Why not the Lib Dems too?

12:58 AM  

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