Last night on Vox Politix we (naturally enough) discussed the LibDem leadership. Spectator columnist John Torode made a very telling point. He reckoned that Nick Clegg would be seen as the LibDems' answer to David Cameron. However, Clegg would be wrong to try to enter into some kind of beauty contest with Cameron "as no one does David Cameron better than David Cameron". It may seem an obvious point to make, there is a dilemma here for Nick Clegg. Twenty five per cent of people who voted LibDem in 2005 now intend to vote Tory according to a recent poll. Why? Presumably because they like what David Cameron is offering them. Far be it from me to offer the LibDems advice on how to attract these voters back, but I suspect success does not lie in trying to copy Cameron. It lies in offering a distinctive narrative and a different policy agenda to the two bigger parties. And it is here that Chris Huhne may come to the fore. He is advantaged by the two month timetable. He also has the advantage of having had a dry run in 2005 and can dust off his previous policy platform. It will need to be tarted up and radicalised, but he's way ahead of Clegg in being able to offer a coherant narrative.
My guess is that a third candidate will emerge too. Steve Webb will stand as the Hughes replacement. His second preferences may determine which of the other two win. But the candidate who may set the contest alight is the 29 year old Julia Goldsworthy. It may seem ridiculously sublime to go from a 66 year old to a 29 year old but I gather Ming wants her to stand - not because she will win (she won't) but so she can put a marker down for the future. She'd certainly liven things up.
UPDATE: The Doughty News hour at 8pm this evening will feature an hour long discussion about the LibDem leadership with LibDem MPs Nick Harvey and Paul Rowen and former spin doctor Mark Littlewood. And at 10pm John Hemming MP (who is rumoured to want to stand) will join me on Vox Politix.