Friday, November 30, 2007

Is Clegg Heading for a Calamity?

Where on earth has Nick Clegg disappeared to? While Chris Huhne has been campaigning around the country like a rabbit on crack, very little has been heard of Nick Clegg for some time. Is his heart in it anymore? Fraser Nelson writes...
A big winner of donor-gate is Chris Huhne. He's been the face of the Lib Dems on
this, as Vince Cable continues to hound Northern Rock. The ability to jump on a
news issue is a key skill required for a Lib Dem leader, and he's demonstrating
his credentials here. Where on earth is Nick Clegg? Where is his campaign? If
he's not careful, winning the Spectator/Threadneedle newcomer
of the year
awards really will be the highlight of his year.

I reckon the result of this leadership contest is going to be very close indeed. A month ago I'd bet my house (if I had one) on Clegg walking it. No longer. And before LibDems accuse me of spinning things in favour of Huhne because he will be less of a danger to the Tories, I'm no longer so sure of that either. Huhne has demonstrated in the last few days that he is a tenacious campaigner who has an eye for the media. Clegg has demonstrated the very opposite.

17 comments:

Ed said...

Huhne has been very good on the TV - coming across as a man of principle. He could be quite popular with voters.

Stalin McSporran said...

The tension is palpable as everyone waits with bated breath to see which pipsqueak gets to be the next LibDem leader.

Peter said...

I totally agree with your post, Iain. Looked at ojbectively, untill a week ago I would have said Clegg could inflict most damage on the Tories, given that Huhne was a bit of a wooly-jumper wearing lid dem.

But his actions over donorgate, has shown he has a connection to the public. I think he has been the only politican who has said the same things as the man in the street will be saying. So when he is elected leader he might easily take the "p*ssed off with politicans vote"

Besides Clegg surely should have said something about donargate. Has he fallen into a quarry; or perhaps his leadership campaign is funded from dubious sources.

Leon said...

He was at the hustings the other night:

http://catch21.co.uk/vblog/2007/nov/liberal-democrat-leadership-debate

Desperate Dan said...

I don't think he's been very good on TV. He hasn't got an original idea in his head and mostly either states the bleeding obvious or repeats what has already been said in print or broadcast by somebody else. What has been on view is his ambition.
Clegg, unlike Huhne, is effortlessly likeable so he doesn't have to try so hard - bit like Boris.

Anonymous said...

Surely the dark horse in all this is Vince Cable ? They will be kicking themselves that someone who has been a pretty safe pair of hands, and quite effective at PMQs will have to give way to 'Tom or Jerry'...

Newmania said...

I spotted this on the Pollard blog Iain , but someone had mentioned that the ballot papers went out before Cleggs McAvity routine over the Brown to Bean metmorphosis. He seemed to think that. I take your point Stephen Pollard says Clegg could be adanger "If he got his act together".

His problem is he is so weakened by rabble he has to lead. They do not want to hear about a consistent narative on society and the state they want the usual Weimarish fantasies.

I suspect it makes little difference for reasons outlined by one Iain Dale recently in the DT

ex labour said...

Clegg may look good, as a tailor-shop dummy looks good, but he's a political lightweight. Huhne, on the other hand, has some substance and has been a real attack dog over this latest bout of Labour sleaze. He seems to want it far more than Clegg and could rejuvenate a fairly moribund party.

If I was a Lib Dem I know which one I'd prefer as leader.

Windsor Tripehound said...

He could be quite popular with voters

He'll need to be to hang on to Eastleigh next time around!

dougal said...

Huhne certainly had good exposure on C4 and Newsnight last night and looked quite the opposite of the swivel-eyed woolly LibDump image. Noticeable absence of Clegg from the media - wonder why?

Savonarola said...

I saw Jon Snow question Huhne on C4 news last night. Huhne was most impressive. He dealt with Snow's direct 'attack' on Lib Dem funding problems in a forceful articulate manner. In comparison Chris Grayling was not in same league.
I will place a bet on Huhne.

canvas said...

Maybe Clegg is with Boris?

Womble On Tour said...

You're still spinning, Iain !

Paul Linford said...

Quite so, but I wonder if Fraser would now revise his earlier prediction that Huhne "will bomb" with the voters?

neil craig said...

I think the fact that Huhne has a very good pedigree of knowing enough economics to be very well paid for it is a strong card in his favour. On the other hand as LudDim Environment spokesman he has said some really idiotic things (or perhaps had to say some idiotic things). If I was in Tory central office I would be doing an index of Huhne environmentalist statements for future repetition.

An unmentioned point in his favour is that he stood against Ming & gave him a good run. I think a lot of grassroots types will say that he has proven right then & in fairness, deserves the job now.

Anonymous said...

Cleggy is a bolshy sulk. Huhne will be a great danger to the conservatives.

Peter said...

Nick Clegg was in Oxford on Thursday, speaking at a rally on the Darfur situation. He was customarily impressive and passionate, dispensing with notes and emphasizing the toll which Labour's asylum policies are taking on vulnerable human beings. That said, it seemed an oddly low-key event for a leadership candidate to turn up at.