Friday, November 2, 2007

Perhaps irritated by Simon Hughes coming out for Clegg we learn that Huhne has been characteristically bitchy about his rival in a GMTV interview. He doesn’t quite say “Clegg is crap” but you know what he means.

Huhne says Clegg is similar to Cameron in age and looks before laying into David Cameron in a way that sounds like a proxy attack on Nick Clegg. Huhne also gets very niggledy about criticisms by Clegg of the lack of impact that the LibDems are making on the environment compared to the Tories (or rather the LibDem environment spokesman is making compared to the husky-hugging glacier-riding Tories).

“I want to fight a positive campaign, so I just simply say that I think Nick has great strengths. … The record is that last summer, for example, the Tory blogs were criticising my Tory opponent because he wasn’t getting as much coverage on the floods and foot and mouth as I was, and in fact some of them were calling for his resignation. If you look over the last year, I’ve consistently been ahead in terms of media coverage of my Tory opposite number, and that’s one of the reasons why I think that we’ve done so well in terms of public perception on the environment.”

He then implicitly has a go Clegg

Well, one of the things that I know as an economist and as a journalist is that both politicians and journalists tend to be very bad at numbers, and numbers are often the evidence so you need to look at things like poll numbers before you shoot from the hip, and that does worry me slightly, but I think that you need to actually go back and look at what the real situation is we’ve done very well on the environment over the last couple of years and I think that if you compare that with any other area you’ll see that it’s the only major area where not only are we in the lead over other parties, but it’s also the only area where we’ve built up our lead over the other parties.

He obviously is pointing to the LibDem numbers which show them polling badly on Home Affairs issues compared to the authoritarian-populist Labour party and the Law and Order loving Tories. Clegg is the Home Affairs spokesman…

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Clegg – ID Cards – "I Will Defy Law"

LibDem politics is so very often the politics of gestures. Huhne’s position on Trident isn’t of any consequence since he won’t have a dog in that fight.

But the politics of the personal is a place where their gestures are more significant. Clegg is going all Gandhi-like and promising mass civil disobedience on ID cards. He told supporters last night “If the legislation is passed I will lead a grassroots campaign of civil disobedience to thwart the identity cards programme … I, and I expect thousands of people like me, will simply refuse ever to register.” “I am not a number” he (almost) shouts.

Which is all very well for private citizens like Guido to do, it is another thing for legislators. Guido’s defiance of the state is one thing, a law-maker becoming a law-breaker presents a dilemma of an entirely different order. Unlike private citizens, Clegg is an integral part of the system representative democracy, if he rejects the outcome of majoritarian politics he is rejecting the system. Good luck to him, but he can’t simply pick and choose the laws he obeys if he is a law-maker.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Bit bored today. Chris Clegg and Nick Huhne are too difficult to distinguish.

Guido got a press release from John Lewis telling him that they supply the Huhnie monster with his suits. Says it all really.

Friday, October 19, 2007

08:30 UPDATE : Clegg is launching his “glitz-free” campaign in Sheffield today.

His website www.nickclegg.com will go live immediately afterwards. His pitch is going to be that he can reach out beyond the LibDem comfort zone. Translated : “I’ll take votes back from Cameron”.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

TEXT UPDATED 10:30 : With many potential candidates ruling themselves out yesterday the three clear front runners are Huhne (13/5), who has declared, Clegg, the odds on favourite (1/2) who will launch his campaign tomorrow. Steve Webb has withdrawn this morning and endorsed Clegg. John Hemming’s odds have dramatically come in (from 150/1 to 65/1) and he is drumming up nominations for his tilt. He is talking about Kant in his campaign.
There is apparently a “keep it clean” agreement between Clegg and Huhne. Just as there was an Orange Book cadre understanding to install Ming as a caretaker leader – before Huhne ran last time. At yesterday’s campaign launch Huhne did one of his characteristic sly jibes (remember that pious knife twisting he did to Hughes when he was outed). “Ming”, Huhne claimed, was the “victim of a Camelot obsession”. Who is the JFK of this race that he is blaming for Ming’s fall? Guido will give you a clue, it isn’t John Hemming.

08:00 UPDATE : Ashdown is the first LibDem grandee to come out and endorse Clegg.

11:25 UPDATE : Hemming has reconfirmed he is still in the race and his hat remains firmly in the ring.

+++ STEVE WEBB WITHDRAWS AND ENDORSES CLEGG +++_

Unconfirmed.

UPDATE : Oops, the Beeb had it 20 minutes before Guido. See that £3.5 billion doesn’t all go to waste.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Huhne Site is Up

Well that didn’t take long did it? It is almost as if they were ready before Ming went…

Chris Huhne banner

Presumably he wants “people in charge” as opposed to Alien Lizards? What does he mean?

Not much to report this morning, Ming has hinted that the Huhnie monsters could have been behind his demise. Huhne himself is expected to launch his campaign today. The Cleggies are texting all and sundry – Shane Greer has a screenshot of the hastily hidden, soon-to-be launched Clegg campaign site.

Some are speculating that the 29 year-old Julia Goldsworthy might run as a marker for the future. So after arguing for 18 months that age (he was 66) and experience (of sprinting) trumped looks and charisma, they could switch to a photogenic reality TV show contestant as leader – Julia is 40/1 on Betfair. Excellent idea, it couldn’t be any worse…

UPDATE : A co-conspirator says she has told her local rag she definitely won’t be running. Boo.

UPDATE II : John Hemming, who has confirmed he wants to run, is a mere 180 /1 on Betfair. He tells Guido he expects to get 5 nominations already!

UPDATE III : Vince Cable has ruled himself out this morning. Telling Nick Robinson that given “the current irrational prejudice about age… an older candidate is not electable”. Rationally, the 64 year-old slaphead is almost indistinguishable from Ming to voters.

UPDATE IV : Steve Webb says he has enough nominations, but is coming over all coy and pretending he is not sure if he really wants to run.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Betfair have opened up a market on the LibDem Leadership -

Clegg is hot favourite at less than evens.
Huhne is 13/5
Steve Webb is 15/1
Ed Davey is 36/1
Charles Kennedy is 40/1
Julia Goldsworthy is 40/1
Vince Cable is 50/1

Cable’s price seems to have some value here as an outsider. Guido has put a fiver on him as a trading bet.

Incidentally, Guido covered all his “Tories to be the biggest party” bets at a profit last night. If Clegg wins he may enjoy a honeymoon at Cameron’s expense…

EXCLUSIVE : The indefatigable John Hemming has sent round an email to LibDem MPs throwing his hat in the ring! Yes!

He has sent out a position statement which is basically steady as she goes, neither right nor left etc., concluding with –

I am one of the few Members of Parliament who have the practical experience of having successfully led a political group from opposition to a position of power (in Birmingham). On issues of diversity I have delivered. As far as extra parliamentary considerations are concerned I am almost certainly the only successful entrepreneur in the parliamentary party that is also a member of a Trades Union. I will be taking soundings following this position statement.

That should sew it up…

Lynne Featherstone isn’t running.

Timetable:

31st October: nominations close.
17th December: the new leader will be announced.

Nick Robinson has got the first Ming interview.

But remember, leading the LibDems isn’t just for Christmas….


Seen Elsewhere

What Will Happen if Scots Leave? | David Aaronovitch
Why Are Radicals Like Carswell Leaving Tories? | BBC
Danczuk: Rotherham Abuse Imported From Pakistan | Telegraph
Ashya King Case Shows How Authorities Get it Wrong | ConHome
The Carswell Show | Jon Craig
Cops Seized Journalist’s Phone to Out Whistleblower | Press Gazette
Chuka’s £2,500 Tax Avoidance Donation | Times
Another BBC Stitch Up? | David Keighley
Divided, Pessimistic Tories Expect Defeat | Alex Wickham
Labour Suspends Rotherham Council Members | Sky
PM Used Terror Crisis to Deflect From Carswell | Rachel Sylvester


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George Osborne rejects the Ice Bucket Challenge from Ed Balls:

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Owen Jones says:

We also need Zil lanes.


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