3 reasons to be pleased with Nick Clegg’s Paxman interview

by Stephen Tall on April 12, 2010

I’ve just finished watching Jeremy Paxman grill Nick Clegg live on BBC1 (presumably on iPlayer later). There are three reasons Lib Dems can be pleased with Nick’s performance:

1. Most importantly, Nick acquitted himself very well. In spite of some tough questions, combined with Paxman’s trademark habit of never allowing an interviewee to finish a sentence, Nick handled the detail well, but never forgot to paint the bigger picture. The impression left was a of a politician well in command of policy, and firm in his principles.

2. Then there’s the fact that Nick actually dared to take the Paxman challenge – according to to today’s Guardian (as Lynne Featherstone notes) both David Cameron and Gordon Brown have failed to respond to the invitation to be interviewed. Lynne suggests – and who am I to disagree? – “two of the three men who would be Prime Minister are obviously cowardy cowardy custards! Guess that leaves only one option then!”

3. The first (and therefore biggest) televised leader’s debate takes place this Thursday. Not only was tonight’s interview good advance practise – and it’s unlikely Nick will face any tougher questioning this campaign – but it showed Nick in relaxed form. That’s a good confidence booster ahead of the biggest night of his political life.

PS: Jonathan Calder has blogged his congratulations here.