CommentIsLinked@LDV: James Graham – 'Nick Clegg should have known better'

by Stephen Tall on December 1, 2008

Over at The Guardian’s Comment Is Free blog, James Graham takes a frank and forthright look at the unguarded remarks allegedly uttered by Nick Clegg within the hearing of a Mirror journalist. Read it in full here, but here’s the conclusion:

The generous interpretation is that Clegg, like both Kennedy and Ashdown before him, needs to fight a general election before he can expect to acquire a decent public profile. Broadly speaking, I happen to still believe that. But while Clegg, the odd blip aside, isn’t the liability his opponents might wish him to be, thus far he has failed to be much of an asset either. In lieu of having much to bring to the table himself, he depends on the goodwill of his team. Mouthing off in public like this can only sap that.

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Excellent piece. It points to the one very,very big shot the party still has in its locker. Necessity is the mother of invention and the fact that no one knows who Nick is can be an advantage.

It would be high risk but if I were a Cowley Street Strategist (What a truely mortifying thought…) I’d dust down (a) a copy of Kinnock:The Movie from 1987, (b) a version of John Majors Soap Box and (c) Paddys Book ( Citizens Britain ? ) where he went round working in ordinary jobs just after he was elected leader. (D) the “Pin Stripe Radical/Spikey” Memo.

The ground troops wil churn out all the local champion stuff on auto pilot. Its the air war that needs proper planning.

I think i’m right in saying that RoPA does’t mandate “Equal air time” as such in election campaigns but a Guarenteed percentage based on a formula to do with seat tally and percentage of the vote gained lst time round. Both of these were good for the party in 2005 so handled correctly we could potentially get a good boost from coverage when an election is called.

Its a huge question. What does the party do with its Air war when an election is caled and much more coverage is guarented? One option is the to make the whole thing a (re) introduction to Nick Clegg.

If we can’t run an effective anti establishment, social justice campaign in the current turmoil and recesion to come then we might as well pack up and go home.

by David Morton on December 2, 2008 at 12:18 pm. Reply #

Perhaps Nick could dust down what Paddy actually did when he wrote his book, and go and visit ordinary people facing tough problems, and cover the length and breadth of Recession Britain. A bit of engagement would help to dispel the Waitrose toff image.

Perhaps Vince could also travel alongside Nick, so that they could start to look a bit more like a real team.

by David Allen on December 2, 2008 at 5:05 pm. Reply #

David Morton wrote:

“One option is the to make the whole thing a (re) introduction to Nick Clegg.”


In 1985, the SDP in Guildford (more precisely, a handful of individuals unaccountable to members) produced a leaflet entitled “Who is Margaret Sharp?”

Now, as Margaret Sharp had only two years earlier been the Parliamentary candidate, there should have been no need to pose that question. But that’s a side issue. Let me go on.

The leaflet comprised a series of quotes from Christmas letters that Margaret and her husband had sent to friends (yes, she did have some). Most made one cringe (“Oh, yes, I’m such a wonderful person, aren’t I?” or words along those lines.)

One extract in particular really did stand out and sticks in the memory as an object lesson in how not to promote a candidate. Margaret’s mother-in-law had become such a nuisance that she shoved the old woman into a nursing home to get her out of the way.

Thankfully, most of these leaflets were pulped.

by Sesenco on December 3, 2008 at 8:47 am. Reply #

Oh dear. Was Danny Alexander really the best person to put up for Jon Sopel to interview about the Queen’s Speech?

Guess what Sopel concluded the interview by asking him about?

by Clegg's Candid Fan on December 3, 2008 at 10:14 am. Reply #

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