The Futility Monster

He'll pointlessly derive more enjoyment out of your resources than you

Naughty Nick Clegg

Posted by The Futility Monster on July 26, 2010 @ 09:47

Hague definitely seemed to enjoy it...

I re-watched last Wednesday’s PMQs over the weekend, especially the bit towards the end of the exchanges with Jack Straw. My main reason for doing so was to try to establish whether it was pre-planned, thought up while in the heat of the battle, or genuinely off-the-cuff thinking on his feet.

It’s my opinion that it was probably one of the first two. Nick is very precise. He sets it up well with the preceding thought about being held to account, and then delivers the punch line. It is slow, executed well, and therefore feels a little planned. He certainly doesn’t look flustered or under pressure. He looks like he had been waiting for the final question all along so he could say it with no come backs.

That degree of execution would seem to exclude it being a genuinely spontaneous remark. But who blames him? Knowing you’re coming up against such an old fraud as Jack Straw, a sly devil who’s spent his Labour career slithering in the grass, changing his mind from one day to another depending on which side is winning, and taking him on face-to-face for probably the first and only time, why miss the opportunity to stick one on him?

In reality though, it doesn’t really matter when it was thought up. It’s turned out well, and sticking by it rather than toadying away like Cabinet ministers who speak their mind usually have to do is very refreshing, and will only help us as a party if we can have a handful of similar incidents in the future.

What also gives me confidence is the giveaway reaction from the Tory front bench. William Hague and George Osborne’s instant facial reactions are priceless and suggest they didn’t know it was coming. Hague looks like he’s saying, “Shit!” in his head, while Osborne is calculating what the right response is and ends up looking rather amused. Sadly, we don’t see why he starts pointing at the other side. Watch for yourself.

We need to see a few more little “blunders” like this, just pushing the envelope of collective responsibility every now and again. The Tories need to be kept on their toes that we are going to keep pressing for what we believe in, and we’re going to feel brave enough to go public with our point of view from time to time. The tactic will work even better when we have a carefully crafted alternative policy which we know has public support. One for Lib Dem HQ to mull over, I think.

It’s the only way we’re going to stay distinctive amidst the coalition morass.

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One Response to “Naughty Nick Clegg”

  1. The Druid said

    Agreed. For those of us who have been feeling a little exasperated that the coalition has started to erode the Lib Dems’ identity, this was a tonic. Would like to think it was entirely calculated.

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