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.