Ah, maybe this explains Nick Clegg’s awkwardness over Nigella yesterday…

Nick Clegg has taken a mostly unjustified pasting in the media over the past couple of days for his answer to the question:

If you had been in the restaurant eating close by to Nigella and Saatchi when he disturbingly put her hands around her neck, what would your reaction had been?

Stephen Tall was right to say yesterday that his response was a bit ill thought out and incoherent. I preferred to think of it as him taking the pony to get to the point rather than the helicopter, something that he does quite a bit. Nick did get there in the end and made it clear that if he saw someone being violent to their partner, he hoped he’d intervene to protect the weaker person.

Nobody could be justified in thinking for a second that Nick would ever condone domestic violence. Yes, Yvette Cooper, that would be you I’m talking about. Dr Sarah Wollaston MP was as bad.

There’s another dimension to this, though, that I’ve become aware of today: Nick’s wife, Miriam Gonzalez Durantez and Nigella are friends. They knew each other before they did a video for The Stylist way back in 2011. Nigella had taken over the site as editor for that issue and she and Miriam cooked croquetas together. There’s even a You Tube video.

This makes Nick’s awkwardness a bit easier to understand. Put yourself in his position. If you were on live radio and somebody asked you something about the personal life of one of your partner’s friends, how would you feel?

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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10 Comments

  • I get the feeling that Nick has got more criticism for slightly clumsily expressing himself about whether he’d intervene than Saatchi has for the assault

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 21st Jun '13 - 4:49pm

    You may well be right, but Yvette Cooper and the press have no particular political reason to have a go at Saatchi. Mind you, Eric Avebury took him apart yesterday in the Lords. Did you see it?

  • David Allen 21st Jun '13 - 5:13pm

    Ah, maybe this explains – it’s the Rose Garden all over again….

  • Who cares what Yvette Cooper says? Wasnt she the housing minister that illustriously solved this nation’s housing shortage? Given that she did nothing about a huge issue she was directly responsible for, who will listen to her when she criticizes Clegg over something he bares no responsibility for? Clegg could have given a better stock answer about not knowing all the facts, individual cases etc, but at the end of the day a bit of criticism from one of the more useless ministers this country has ever had is hardly worth getting worked up about. About the only thing she has any talent in is flipping houses.

  • Peter Chivall 22nd Jun '13 - 11:30pm

    Sadly, the Press do pick up on the smears that are Yvette Cooper’s sole political stock-in-trade. Cooper obviously follows the dictum: “A lie can be halfway arouind the world, before the truth has got up on its feet.”
    Now I hear that she was a total flop as housing minister under Bliar/ Brown I realise why I hold her in such contempt – to have been in office in such boom years and yet failed to re-establish a necessary stock of publicly-controlled housing or to provide security of tenure to those on low or insecure incomes shows what a bunch of closet Tories New Labour proved to be. Even the Tories in the 30s built more houses, both public and private, than Cooper and her henchpeople even thought of doing.

  • More amusing than Cooper’s comments are those of Ed Miliband. Can anyone imagine a “man” less likely intervene in a 3rd party dispute?

  • alistair

    What a lovely comment – you must be very proud of yourself for that

    What is your definition of a ‘man’?

  • Man in the conventional biological sense. Lets see whether Ed steps into the current corruption scandal in his own party over candidate selection. Ultimately I dont see Ed Miliband as a guy who would physically put himself at risk over the plight of a stranger. I have as active an imagination as the next person but Ed swooping in as a knight in shining armour is a leap too far.

  • Simon Banks 4th Jul '13 - 10:09am

    Nick Clegg has the attractive characteristic of actually trying to answer questions instead of deciding, “A true answer to that question would be embarrassing/damaging/difficult, so I’ll answer a question I wasn’t actually asked”. This leads him into hot water on occasions and also into some confused replies, exacerbated by his tendency to start on his reply before he’s got clear in his mind what he’s going to say. That trait is a fault. I submit the first isn’t.

    I think one point he was trying to make is that if one incident happens quickly, especially if your attention wasn’t fully on the matter at the start, it’s very easy to jump to conclusions, misunderstand or even imagine what never happened (there is experimental evidence that police officers can do this, and they’re trained observers). Could he really be sure it wasn’t a bit of horseplay? A reasonable response would be to wait a moment to see if Saatchi failed to withdraw his (not her) hands or followed up with any other apparently hostile act – and then to intervene.

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