Wednesday, September 17, 2008

It Just Gets Worse for Calamity Clegg

I'm beginning to feel sorry for Nick Clegg. In his conference speech, he admitted that he’d never heard of Lehman Brothers or Bear Stearns. He said...
There’s this big, intangible thing called the global credit crunch. Banks and funds with names you’d never heard of – Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns.
Can it be true that the leader of the third largest political party in the country and, so he claims, an aspiring Prime Minister, had never heard of these corporate giants?

But it gets worse. Later in his speech, Clegg proclaimed...

I can tell you where we’re headed. Government!

Isn't this strangely reminiscent of David Steel’s 1981 cry to the Liberal Assembly: "Go back to your constituencies and prepare for government."?

UPDATE: Paul Waugh has an entertaining interpretation of this HERE.

60 comments:

Anonymous said...

The classic was 'aiming for energy independence' with 'no to nuclear'...

Shame, as the guy often 'talks a good game', but he can't really 'walk the walk'...

Anonymous said...

Hmm.. Though I'm afraid I don't agree with those who say they'd be better off with Cable or Huhne - they seem pretty well lacking in charisma to me...

no longer anonymous said...

Amateurs.

Anonymous said...

Be fair. He said "you'd never heard of", presumably aiming at the TV audience.

Jeff said...

"this big, intangible thing called the credit crunch"


Makes you feel nice and safe he knows what he's talking about hey?

Rather scary if you ask me.

And can I ask, was there a hesitant, muted applause when a shocked Lib Dem crowd were told they were heading towards Government?

Colin said...

I may have misheard clegg, but I'm sure he just said "no fossil fuels, no nuclear".

In my book, no fossil fuels + no nuclear = no lights.

Anonymous said...

Yes worse was when asked about pensions he said about £30 when in fact with pension tax credits it's £125.

But even I had heard of these banks giants and I'm a thick disabled bloke.

But then again nothing surprises me anymore.

ian said...

With Clegg, the LibDems have reaped what they sowed. He knows little about 'owt, entirely appropriate for a mish-mash party without a coherent strategy. Clegg's proving an amusing warm-up act for the political vaudeville top-of-the-bill Gordon, whose own conference performance in front of his Fred Karno's army of delusionists is going to be epically la-la.

Hail me a cab! said...

Yup, Govt in a taxi, thats where they are headed!

Andrew Efiong said...

Hasn't heard of Bear Stearns or Lehman Brothers? He should speak to colleague Chris Huhne a bit more.

Huhne used to be a Managing Director of Fitch, one of these bond rating agencies, whose carelessness is partly responsible for the credit crunch.

James said...

Your old sparring partner Simon Heffer reckons Clegg is the only politician worthy of governing the UK and capable of getting us out of Brown's mess, in today's Telegraph.

martyn said...

Ignorance is biss Iain, you should know.

In Like Flynn said...

Think it was a big mistake to try to mimic Cameron's speech last year... the press will just report that he is Cameron-lite.

In a difficult time for many people, i think it showed an extraordinary lack of judgement to be making jokes about, Smurfs, apple pie and custard, Andrex puppies and zombies etc etc etc

Anonymous said...

Well I'm certainly not feeling sorry for him, just irritated. I caught a few unbearable seconds of the Big Speech. Clegg makes me think of a rather youthful, dreadfully earnest, terribly caring, didactic, sententious calf which has somehow managed to get up on its hind legs and start delivering a lecture. It's the mournful mooing foghorn timbre of the voice. And the maddening combination of ignorance, patronising arrogance and fatuous suggestions that this is a political party ready to govern. Grrr. Bring back Cheerful Charlie - even if he was a bit, er, too cheerful at times.
[/rant]

Techno Mystic said...

"I may have misheard clegg, but I'm sure he just said "no fossil fuels, no nuclear"".

Yes, he did. It's very difficult to take the bloke seriously.

no longer anonymous said...

To be fair to David Steel, the Alliance was in the lead in the opinion polls in 1981 (Tories disliked due to rising unemployment, Labour disliked due to swing to the hard heft). In fact they may even have been polling as high as over 50% at one point (someone correct me if I'm wrong).

Newmania said...

What bothers me about Clegg is his snippyness .He always sounds like prefect who has decided that today is the day he will once and for all stop that smoking in the common room even if the smokers are his contemporaries who will laugh.

BTW Anon 12.59 fine wordage ,I enjoyed that

Math Campbell said...

To be fair I didn't really know much about Lehman Brothers; I'd heard of them, just like fanny mae and freddie mac, but they weren't big on my list of financial companies because they're American companies with little to no public image in the UK. A lot of people won't have heard of them even now after the big hoo-ha.


However, I'm not a professional politician, nor am I an economist. If I were in professional politics, you can bet with certainty I'd use some of the ludicrous expenses budgets our elected officials get to pay a economics advisor to give me a weekly briefing so I'm "in-the-know".

Also a military advisor, an international diplomacy advisor, a legal advisor etc. Because that's what the intelligent do. If you're in a situation where you should know something and you don't, intelligent people find out, usually by asking someone known to be knowledgeable in the area. Nobody's an expert in everything.


Only trouble is when you get someone that isn't this intelligent who tries to bluff his way out. Never works.

Either that or the little pratt was trying to "get down with the people" by pretending ignorance where he has none in which case he's doubly stupid and patronising to boot.

tally said...

Vince Cable says We cannot rule out cuts to NHS 'sacred cow'.
Normally the Lib/Dems are very good and have a dislaimer telling us which country they are talking about.
As Cable is a person sitting in an English seat he can only be talking about cuts to the English NHS.He cannot cut Scotland Wales or Northern Ireland's NHS.
Is it not time we made these people tell us exactly who they are talking about.?

scott redding said...

I agree with anonymous @ 1240. Most people, even in they have heard of Lehman/Goldman/Morgan Stanley, don't know what they do (the billions upon billions they throw back and forth each day).

The pension thing was incredible.

And he floundered in the face of the Wrath of Paxman.

Chris said...

Don't be silly. He's a plonker, but he didn't say 'which I've never heard of,' or even 'which one has never heard of.' 'You,' meaning 'people,' or 'most people' or (more likely, he being a pompous, patronising politician) 'ordinary people.' Get it?

no longer anonymous said...

"Be fair. He said "you'd never heard of", presumably aiming at the TV audience."

So he thinks we're a bunch of ignorant cretins.

David Anthony said...

I had to turn off... pure tedium.

golden rose said...

Did someone mention ratings agencies?

Would those include organisations that handed out triple A (AAA or Aaa) investment grade ratings like confetti when those same securities were packaged to the hilt with risky debt, from junk bonds to subprime loans, in a masterpiece of financial engineering?

At least the ratings agencies had disclaimers in place and recognised that they were needed to cover their educated opinions.

Martin Day said...

LOoooooooooooooooooooooooOL

Nick Clegg is going for the Yellow Taxi come the Next election: The latex Neil Kinnock mask is surely going to be rolled onto his head by Clegg himself - Who knows the BBC may even incorporate it into their graphics!!!

The LD's are a pathertic bunch - they are like a fifty pence piece: Two faces and seven sided!!!!

I will enjoy watching the LD Freak show - turn into the off the end of the cliff party! The former MP's will certainly feel inclined to lash out after the electorate reprise their revenge.

The most enjoyable thing will be to watch the uni-cellular bacteria that is the LD party membership explain why they have been misleading the public and not listening to the predictions of impending electoral wipeout that some advocates have rightly claimed for a number of years!

The LD's are doomed - DOOMED! Talk about a wasted vote at the next election. Clegg might even be usurped by JC in Sheffield Hallam, look at ConHome under Sheffield Hallam for the potential candidates list!

Looks like Clegg is leading his party to oblivon!

Anonymous said...

"Be fair. He said "you'd never heard of", presumably aiming at the TV audience."

So he thinks we're a bunch of ignorant cretins.


I hold him in equally high regard.

Mark Senior said...

An excellent speech from Cleggie today far superior to Andrex or is it Durex puppy . Interesting that Iain quotes Nick Clegg's exact words and then twists them to infer that it was Clegg who had not heard of these financial "giants" rather than the vast majority of of the voters as a whole .
I expect the banks of computers at CCHQ will be red hot as the Conservative bloggers who man them rush out their prepared scripts to try and rubbish an excellent speech .

gadgie said...

In Northern England I predict Conservative wins and a a couple BNP wins.

Anonymous said...

Who's this Mark Senior, then? Is he the Chris Paul of the LibDem blogging world?

And why does he explicitly liken Casanova's speech to a leading brand of condom? I think we should be told.

Aren't the Lib Dems, well...odd?

Anonymous said...

Nick Clegg = Neil Kinnock

Gaff Gaff Gaff!!! Paxo interview, Miming to nursey rhymes, £30 Pension gaff!

Free Neil Kinnock Latex masks and Yellow matchbox taxi's for the LD's at the next election after this week! I can just imagine the scene in the LD headquarters come the next GE, rather like IRobot with hundreds Identikit faces (Neil Kinnock Latex masks) hiding the dissapointment of losing most of the seats and gaining none!

Nevermind yellow taxi's the way Clegg is leading the party it will be a Del boy three wheeler!!!

The cargo will not be LD MP's but self inflating Neil Kinnock dolls!!! The way the LD's are run would certainly equate to a Only Fools and Horses operation.


Meanwhile a true champion of the people will turn Clegg over and oust him in Sheffield Hallam!

http://conservativehome.blogs.com/goldlist/2008/09/jeremy-clarkson.html

Martin Day said...

Mark Senior:

Do you whear a Neil Kinnock Latex mask with pride at LD party gatherings?

John Moss said...

Half the LD activists I know are downing tools because of the tax and spending cut pledge. The other half know that means they will lose seats big time and that if they actually want to be liberal tax-cutters, they might as well join the liberal tax-cutting party which actually has a chance of being in Government after the next election.

What odds on CCHQ having a dozen defections up their sleeves for this afternoon?

Anonymous said...

What I found most breathtaking was that one moment he was attacking Cameron for his 'arrogance' and suggested he was already choosing wallpaper patterns for No 10, then the next he was proclaiming the Lib Dems heading for government.

Incredible the populist, hypocritical and deluded steps he'll go to.

The Raven said...

Never mind Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns, who is this petulant and noisy Clegg man?

PhilC said...

I think the line which went roughly: "The problem with the Conservatives is that once you strip away the nasty elements there isn't much left" was pretty good and the 'thinks he's born to rule' dig at Cameron is worth pursuing (although a little rich from Clegg with his background)
Otherwise, I thought the speech alright but a little flat. If you can't score points off Labour at the moment you don't deserve to be in the game.

Anonymous said...

You've misinterpreted this by my guess, Iain. I'm sure he knows about them, the point he is making about all these big names most ordinary people on the street won't have heard on and know nothing about. I'm politically aware and studying at Oxford uni, and I hadn't heard of most of these companies before they hit the news with talk of their collapse, so I doubt the man on the Clapham omnibus has any idea what is going on.

Colin said...

Another gem was, in his view what the Army needs is "off the shelf, inexpensive tanks".

Apart from the ones made by Airfix, I'm not sure there is such a thing as an "off the shelf, inexpensive tank".

Manj said...

Can you not bring yourself to admit it was a good speech? You're a very strange case, Dale

Ordinary Voter said...

'There’s this small, intangible thing called the Liberal Democrat Party. MPs and Peers with names you'd never heard of - Nick Clegg, erm, ah, well, Vince Cable, erm ah, that's it.'

Anonymous said...

I think you've forgotten Celtic are playing tonight as well, Iain.

cherami said...

Sorry, but I think the LibDems blew it when they got rid of Menzies Campbell and then instead of replacing him with a man (Cable) chose yet another of these boy warriors.
Clegg simply won't cut the mustard anymore than will Miliband (if he even gets the chance.)

We want a bit of wisdom and experience in these trying times, not youth and callowness.

Londoner said...

H should have said "many people had previoosly never heard of".

But then I have too much of a preference for precise language to be a political speech writer. But if I was, I would have got him to say that some people thought Bear Stearne was a form of nudist domination.

Anonymous said...

I found Clegg's speech better than I expected. But no coal, no nuclear == no lights (as noted earlier on the comment list). Daft green logic - Cameron take note.

He tried to look impressive speaking without notes and walking around. Unfortunately the BBC had too many cameras in action and on a couple of (brief) shots you could see a large auto-cue screen at the back of the audience displaying the words he was about to say. He's well trained, since you could hardly see him looking up there for inspiration!

simon said...

The thing is Clegg looks like David Cameron lite, sounds like David Cameron lite, and ACTS like David Cameron lite. Clegg comes across as a leader of a LibbieDem student union. The speech at conf was dreary too. Bring back a drunk CK- at least you had some entertainment on offer- CK's speech (or inane drunk ramble) to the Jock LibDems is my favorite political speech.

strapworld said...

was he getting audio help delivering his speech? His delivery was slow and deliberate, rather than flowing. His hand/arm movements reminded one of a puppet show.

For a man who needs notes for two questions each week at PMQ's this was extremely suspicious!

He had two mikes on his lapels, which, again, was quite weird.

Was he wired for 'cues'?

Mark Senior said...

Martin Day , your posting style is very distinctive so it is a waste of your time to pretend to be another anonymous poster , after all you are frit to post under your real name anyway .
Mr Moss , we are still waiting for the 3 LibDem to Conservative MP defections forecast by Richard Willis over 2 years ago , the only party that consistently loses MP's by defection to another party is the Conservative Party .

Anonymous said...

Well Nick Clegg won't like the poll rumour on UK Polling report, puts them on 12%!

neil craig said...

I will admit not knowing anything about Lehman & Bear Stearns before but he should have heard of Fannie & Freddie. On the other hand while I think Gordon probably had would anybody be surprised in Blair hadn't, at least before he retired & got rich.

David from Ealing said...

It was a good speech and Clegg came over as a human being, whereas Cameron comes over as a bit of a zombie. I find it difficult to know what Cameron is talking about, or whether he believes it, and indeed whether his party believes it.

I certainly hadn't heard of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac until recently and first time thought they were fast food joints.

But whether you've heard of them or not, perhaps for once people should listen to Simon Heffer, who said in today's Telegraph:

"Indeed - and the irony of this is so vast I can hardly compute it - the only prominent politician even heading towards the right set of economic values is Nick Clegg, the leader of the Lib Dems.

They have at last owned up to something that the Tories, to their shame, refuse to acknowledge, that some of Labour's public spending is wasteful. Mr Clegg wants £20?billion off public spending, and tax cuts. This suggests that he at least has understood what, at root, is wrong with our economy: that we, in common with much of the western and capitalist worlds, are living beyond our means."

Anonymous said...

pThe Steel comment was in 1986. Just before Mrs T smashed them again.

Martin Day said...

Mark - Din't worry about the three LD to Tory MP defection as there is not much time left where you will have three MP's left!

The LD's are doomed - DOOMED!

one of the above said...

Excellent post Iain!

I fear that it won't however defuse the wishful thinking and perverse logic which infects the heart of the conservative constituency.

Will someone please tell me how LibDems alienated by the promise of tax cuts are suddenly going to defect to Cameron?

David Lindsay said...

Yes, you heard aright. Nick Clegg really did say that the Lib Dems were "the vanguard" of "a revolution". Not much reading between the lines is needed this time.

A revolution, moreover, with no place for coal, no place for nuclear power, and no place for the DTI (or whatever it now calls itself), including everything that the DTI does, not least with old miners and their families. What was all that about winning seats in the North?

Tom said...

Iain, this seems a really dishonest interpretation that you have made. Wasn't he talking about the middle aged mother?

Sadly, given there is no integrity in journalism these days, I'm pretty sure the interpretation you offer will be the one that is remembered.

Anonymous said...

He did very well and appears to be dragging Party into the 21st century.
As a plain, ordinary voter and not a member of the Westminster elite, I knew exactly what he meant. He was talking for the cameras. He didn't mean he'd never heard of them, but us voters. And the rhetoric was understood.
It appears there is another player on the scene, which gives us a choice other than Cameron - who is not popular as a person, but the choices are very limited.
Still, I am waiting for the promise of equal rights for us in England before I waste my vote on any of them.

Norfolk Blogger said...

Iain, he said "you'd" not "I'd". You really should no the difference (note I said "You" and not "I").

Simon Lamb said...

The Liberals are planning to redistribute cash from the top quartile. Their proposals are suitably vague but include:
an end to higher rate tax relief on pensions
an end to CGT (tax rate up from 18% to 40%)
a local income tax that will certainly cost households earning over £70 000 more than the Council Tax (and I live in Richmond, one of the highest charging parts of the country)
If that wasn't enough, Cable wants to throw sand into the wheels of commerce and is quite happy to see a collapse in house prices. That should result in redundancy for many of his constituents who need to work in the City in order to pay the ludicrously high prices for property in this part of London. They won't be able to sell for a decent price, bringing negative equity well up the income scale.

chrome diplomat said...

Wow Iain, did you pull a muscle reaching to grab this post out of your arse??

It is quite clear he was talking about the fact that big, US banking firms which the average person with a full tiem job, working hard to support their family has no time to learn about or pay attention to, have caused major economic problems that are hammering those at the bottom end of the pay scale.

He said heading towards Government, he didn't mean this week, but meanining that Liberal support is growing, and the road goes up not down from here.

You can be a top class writer at times, but 1 post of this kind of blatent interlectual dishounesty (although not very interlectual) undermines 30 well formed ones.

Mellow Yellow said...

Just checking. I submitted a comment earlier comparing the Tories' financial credibility to the Lib Dems': Vince vs. George (who?) Osbourne.

But it doesn't seem to have got through. Sending it again to check their wasn't a technical problem before I accuse anyone of a politically biased comment moderation policy.

GREAT MUTA said...

Clegg should be ashamed with himself for comparing Humphrey Lyttleton and "I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue" to Gordon Broon and his stoogies.