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Nick Clegg says…
“Brown systematically blocked, and personally blocked, political reform. I think he is a desperate politician and I just do not believe him.” He added: “And do I think Labour delivered fairness? No. Do I think the Labour Party in its heart has a faith in civil liberties? No. Do I think they’ve delivered political reform? No. They are clutching at straws.”
Regardless of your views on the new hair do, a slightly more aggressive Osborne scored an unexpected victory at this afternoon’s Chancellors Debate. The CCHQ debate preparation team take note – anger works.
Osborne was helped in no uncertain terms by the music hall duo of Flanders and Neil beasting Cable on his reputation and record. These two have history, but the old yellow sage was left speechless by Brillo’s “Isn’t the biggest myth of the election your reputation?”
Guy News Special in the edit right now…
Having been the front man for the entire LibDem campaign until 45 minutes into the Leader’s Debate, Vince has all but disappeared into the background this week. No longer the nation’s favourite politician, his soothsaying sage act is also washing a little thin. Inflation figures released yesterday were higher than Cable expected again at 3.4%, leading him to claim that “the inflation rise appears to be a blip caused by things that are out of our control...”
But that’s not how he saw it when he was reading his magical economic runes three months ago in January, then he said with his characteristic bluffer’s confidence “these figures are almost certainly a temporary spike.” Doesn’t seem too temporary to Guido,* in fact when you print £200 billion and call it quantitative easing (as supported by Cable), you inevitably get inflation.
Perhaps if Clegg would let him back on the platform, he might be able to explain why inflation has remained high and got even worse over the last three months. Could certainly liven up this afternoon’s Chancellor’s Debate…
*Have you taken Guido’s advice?
Having sworn blind that Lord Rennard was not involved in the Liberal Democrat campaign, Cowley Street looks a little silly this morning given The Sun’s dossier scoop. In a blunder, Clegg’s spinner John Sharkey’s notes on debate rehearsals – including how Clegg is being coached to imitate, yet slam, David Cameron, were left in the back of a cab.
Lord Rennard’s role in manifesto planning and organisation is referenced and amusingly, true to form, he was keen on involving token women. Less funny is the fact that Cowley Street staffer Phil Reilly lied to Guido. Yesterday he said categorically Rennard was in no way involved in Clegg’s campaign. Does he now want to retract that and apologise for lying to Guido?
With just over two weeks to go and the latest polls showing the LibDems in the lead Cleggmania is now everywhere, tomorrow the Guy News poll of polls rolling average will likely show the LibDems neck and neck or ahead of the Tories. As Brown and the left cling to the hope of a “progressive coalition” YouGov’s Peter Kellner highlights research showing that whereas 52% of voters would be ‘dismayed’ by a Gordon Brown government, some 42% of the electorate would be ‘delighted’ or ‘wouldn’t mind’ a Lib-Con “Change Coalition“ government.
Guido reads that as telling us that if Clegg signaled his intentions clearly he could seal the deal with the electorate. If he looks into the camera and says, “under no circumstances will we keep Gordon Brown in government”, swing voters and Tory waverers would no longer fear a Lib-Lab coalition and 5 more years of Gordon Brown, he could break-through to nearer 40% of the popular vote. Clegg might even win outright…
UPDATE : On the Politics Smarkets Clegg’s price seems cheap for Next PM after Gordon: Clegg is worth backing at 14%, Cameron is still favourite on 65%. Harman 17%, Miliband 14%, Balls 10%, and Johnson 10% are also in the running.