Was the front-runner right to make a formal complaint?
In the introduction to the thread on Thursday’s Huhne-Clegg Question Time debate I noted that “thereâ€™s been a lot of edge between the two men during the campaign and there might just be fireworks.”
Well it did not quite happen on that occasion but last night the contest, which has struggled to command much media attention, was topping the BBC bulletins after Nick Clegg made a formal complaint over the Huhne campaign briefing document, revealed on the Politics Show, under the heading “Calamity Clegg”.
With the ballot forms going out this week the Clegg campaign obviously calculated that raising the issue like this was a way of capturing the moral high ground in what has become an extraordinarily bitter contest. The problem is that it continues to link the word “calamity” with his name and the Huhne charges about Clegg’s “policy flip-flopping” are given wider currency.
Whoever becomes leader is going to face much worse things than this and, as one or two people were saying on yesterday’s thread, the move makes Clegg look a bit precious.
As most site visitors will know, I am a Lib Dem, and have strong views about this contest – so my observations on the betting might be suspect. In fact I’ve limited the amount I have at risk to just Â£100 because past experience has been that my judgement gets affected if I feel passionately about an outcome.
What I have found quite nasty is the amount of personal abuse I have been getting for daring to suggest that Nick Clegg’s alleged “superior presentational skills” are not apparent to me. I rate him as no more than average in this respect. This has led to emails and comments on the thread that I should resign from the party if the younger man, as I think he will, ends up as winner. There’s a sense of “entitlement” about Clegg’s approach to this election which makes him and those around him very unappealing.
On the second Wednesday in January, when the new leader makes his PMQ debut, there’ll be crescendo of noise and abuse from the Tory and Labour gangway hecklers as he gets to his feet. Based on yesterday’s developments I think that Huhne will be more robust and better equipped to deal with it.
The betting has hardly moved with Clegg still the 0.36/1 favourite. Trading has been very light with barely Â£3,000 being matched on Betfair yesterday.