Has Nick detected the emergence of ‘shy Cleggites’?

by Stephen Tall on January 13, 2011

‘Shy Tories’ — the term applied to those planning to vote Conservative, but too embarrassed to admit it publicly — was a phrase used to help explain the pollsters’ failure to predict John Major’s 1992 election victory. An anecdote told by Nick Clegg in his interview in today’s Sun suggests the Lib Dems might also have our own share of abashed admirers:

Mr Clegg said: “Of course some people come up to me and say, ‘Oh we don’t like the Government doing this and doing that’. But more people come up to me and say, ‘I think you are doing a really good job’. A woman did exactly that when I was in a local supermarket at a checkout in my Sheffield constituency the other day. She came up with a furtive glance and a whisper and then she scampered away. Maybe people don’t think it is fashionable to show support at the moment.”

Nick takes the opportunity of the interview with the paper’s political editor Tony Newton-Dunn (son of ex-Tory now Lib Dem MEP, Bill) to make clear his own personal

Groundedness …

“Look, I am a very lucky man. I work incredibly hard and I take the honour of being in government very seriously, but I have always been a balanced kind of guy who is a father before he is a politician and who has got three lovely little children I dote on. When you get home from work you can’t constantly worry about your work. You have got to read the latest book, help with the latest bit of homework, have arguments about turning off the latest Wii video game. That is my life – and it is a life that keeps my feet firmly on the ground.”

… Resilience …

“I am very resilient and I never give up. … We might look back on this as the most difficult phase of all. We have still got a bumpy road ahead economically, but the hardest political decisions and announcements have already been set out there. Many of those anguished internal debates are now behind us. Now it is up to whether our judgments on the economy stand the test of time.”

… and optimism

“I have got so much faith in the fair-minded character of the British people and, indeed, of Sun readers. There are lots of people who perhaps don’t go on marches but who quietly recognise that this Government has a difficult job and I have a difficult job in it. We are doing our best and I am doing my best. If we don’t sort things out there isn’t a bright future for the country. It is as simple as that. In the long run I think people will see that.”