Are the Cleggies having second thoughts?

Are the Cleggies having second thoughts?


    Does the odds-on favourite need to do more than look good?

With only nine to to go before voting ends in the Lib Dem leadership there’s been a lot of questioning in the Lib Dem blogsphere over whether the odds-on and strong polling favourite, Nick Clegg is the right choice. He is also the candidate on whom I have bet £900.

One factor that has sparked off the concern was his lacklustre performance on Tuesday’s Today Programme on Radio 4. This was from prominent Lib Dem blogger James Graham and, up until then a strong Cleggie.

“I’ve just been listening to Nick Clegg and Chris Huhne’s head-to-head on the Today Programme. For a Cleggite, it made for pretty uncomfortable listening..the broadcast media is the real battleground in the struggle to win the hearts and minds of the public. And once again, Clegg came off as dramatically weaker than Huhne..The difference was obvious. Huhne trotted off a series of clear and concise soundbites while Clegg waffled. It isn’t as if this problem hasn’t been remarked upon before; why hasn’t Clegg sorted it out?

This provoked this comment on Graham’s site:-

“I now have serious misgivings about the possibility of young Mr Clegg being eaten alive if he does emerge victorious by whim of the nice-minded Lib Dem electorate. As one who had serious misgivings about the wisdom of electing Ming last time out (and therefore supported Chris Huhne then as well), I hope and pray I won’t have a second cause to go round moaning: “I told you so”.

Here on PBC Rob C made the following observation:-

I bet Clegg is glad most Lib Dem members voted straight away because imo Huhne has been the more impressive figure in the campaign, even before the revealing interview with the candidates on this morning’s Today programme. I have a feeling we have been spun a line, that docile and nice Lib Dem members have possibly swallowed, that Clegg is the one with potential and voter appeal while Huhne only speaks to the faithful. Well sorry what is required is someone who really knows his brief, can think on his feet, be combative if necessary and can deal with the media. Huhne has these qualities. Clegg by contrast comes across as pleasant but woolly and waffly.

Saturday’s YouGov poll of party members had Clegg with a reasonable lead but found that Huhne was rated significantly higher on competance and policy while Clegg was said to have “more voter appeal” whatever that means.

    To command media attention you need the skills that Huhne has been showing. Many in the party think it’s simply about looking good which betrays a woeful ignorance about how the media works.

My guess is that these second thoughts are probably too late to affect the outcome and that my £900 is safe.

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Mike Smithson


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