Nick on ‘Call Clegg’: “Without doubt one week I will regret something I said”

by Stephen Tall on March 4, 2013

An interesting couple of snippets from an interview with Nick Ferrari – Nick Clegg’s interlocutor on LBC’s weekly ‘Call Clegg’ phone-in – in this week’s Media Guardian. First, that all three party leaders were approached with the idea, and only Nick bit. And here’s Nick on why he agreed:

On his way out of the studio a few weeks ago, I asked Clegg the same question. “I enjoy it. There’s something spontaneous and authentic about it, which is good in a political world which is in many ways becoming increasingly pasteurised by too much spin and pre-preparation.”

Clegg said he received a “lot of clever, clever advice in the newspapers saying it was an absolute disasater to make myself available to the British public”.

“I couldn’t disagree more,” said the deputy PM. “That is what has turned people off politics for so long; it has become increasingly a debate between professionals. It means you have to take a risk – absolutely without doubt one week I will regret something I said and people will say ‘ah, it was always a mistake’. It is worth taking that risk.”

As for its popularity – well, we’ll wait to see the audience figures, but the public interest in talking to the Lib Dem leader is certainly there:

Call Clegg receives between 8,000 and 10,000 calls a week (during the London riots, LBC had a peak of 40,000 people trying to get through), according to Ferrari. The first edition of the show featured a former Lib Dem councillor who told Clegg he had torn up his party membership card. Ferrari says: “We have never planted a question, we have never pre-phoned anyone.”

* Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, a Research Associate for the liberal think-tank CentreForum, and also writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.