BBC Politics Show: Lib Dem leadership election special – open thread

Are you ready for Round 2 of Clegg v. Huhne? Because today, at 12 noon, the two candidates for the leadership will go head-to-head once again in front of the cameras for BBC1’s Politics Show.

If you’re tuned in, and want to let folk know what you think of the contenders’ performances, feel free to comment below. As ever, please do keep discussion reasoned and reasonable.

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This entry was posted in Leadership Election and Lib Dem TV.


  • When attending the hustings event in Leeds, Huhne challenged Clegg on School Vouchers, and Clegg adamantly denied he was in favour.

    Huhne is coming across as the school bully, not doing himself any favours!

  • I think all of this stuff from Chris is slightly pointless. If Nick says that he doesn’t believe something then why on earth won’t Chris believe him?

  • The tone of this debate is very off-putting. The message is not getting across. A great opportunity lost

  • Alex – it’s a bit strange of Huhne to praise Nick just after having repeatedly attacked him. It really is not helpful for anyone on any side in this contest to attack anyone else in ways that our opponents can use.

  • I thought Huhne’s bullying and hectoring was shocking. Well done to Nick for trying (despite being constantly talked over) to stick to talking about issues that really matter to voters.

  • Hywel Morgan 18th Nov '07 - 12:30pm

    The only winners of that shambles were Brown & Cameron!

  • Blimey – didn’t fall asleep watching this one. Chris made a right mess of it.

  • I know I am going off topic [SORRY BUT I DIDN’T KNOW WHERE ELSE TO GO] but has anyone looked at the YOUGOV poll. There appears to be a bit of a recovery so the coverage must be positive overall.
    I would like to know if the 2% lift was directly bat the expense of Labour?

  • Clegg was far better on ID cards. Huhne’s response – to bring up PR – was yet another indication of his ‘political’ approach to answering a question.

    I can appreciate he’s being the activists’ politician for this contest, but I need to see evidence that he can talk to the public. Which Nick did brilliantly, again.

  • John in Penarth 18th Nov '07 - 12:53pm

    Well, am in disbelief. We needed that particular exchange like a hole in the head! It will have done us no good at all with the public at large – cue more media comments about ‘nasty party’.

    At the start of the contest, I favoured Nick but had waivered of late because he had seemed a bit lacklustre and Chris seemed to want it more. Now, he seems to want it too much? Anyway, ‘Calamity Clegg’ briefing v bad, whether Chris knew of it or it just came out of his campaign office. He might get over it, but probably shouldn’t. The least that can be said is that it’s not our job to produce yet more amusing nicknames about our own for The Sun.

    I thought Nick – when he could get a sentence out – reacted as best he could, he’s obviously exasperated by the way he’s being opposed, but tried not to show it too much. Still, it must be frustrating to keep having to refute what your opponent says you’re saying, rather than getting to talk about your own ideas, and he deserves some credit for not getting all aggressive back (which really would have made a great news story…both candidates at each others’ throats…)

    The best that can be said is that it’s helped me decide, if only for the wrong reasons.

    Much more importantly, how do we go forward from here?

  • Vince Cable, in his capacity as acting leader, needs to have a quiet word with Chris, especially, and Nick to tell them to cool it. That was unedifying spectacle and as a declared Huhne supporter I am now worried that if wins he will not be able to deliver a united party.

  • John in Penarth 18th Nov '07 - 1:03pm

    Rob, I know most people don’t watch these shows, but it’s what they do get to see of them that worried me a bit … for e.g. if you were 6 o’clock news editor on a light Sunday, which 10 second slot from that exchange would you choose to run?

    It’s also just crossed my mind that Chris has maybe turned Nick into the underdog – with all that that entails in a LD environment.

    Maybe it doesn’t matter. And at least we do have two candidates and a choice for leader, unlike some governing parties we could all think of!

  • Terrible – but not as bad as the head-to-head spat just shown on the South West segment – it descended into a terrible schoolground argument.

    Just what the party didn’t need down here.

    I’m all for a bit of oomph in our leadership contest but that was just plain silly. My vote is undecided again.

  • ps. I would like to take a look at “Calamity Clegg” though!

  • well as a member I am finding it increasingly difficult to choose between clegg and huhne. I think huhne performs well but todays show and his campaign has shown him to be rude and agressive. Clegg, is good at performing pre-written soundbites and speeches but not good at speaking out of script. He comes across as wishy woshy at times. So I have no idea who to vote for

  • Mark Hooper 18th Nov '07 - 1:38pm

    as a declared Huhne candidate, I was appalled by what has come out of Chris’ office.

    As an experiened business type, Chris should know all about keeping his ‘troops’ under some semblence of control.

    Right now, I’m not even sure I want to vote at all…..

  • Cheltenham Robin 18th Nov '07 - 1:38pm

    It would be intersting to find out who wrote the Calamity Clegg document, was it an MP?

    It’s a bit rich for Chris to say that he isn’t aware of everything that comes from his campaign team.

  • Mark Hooper 18th Nov '07 - 1:41pm

    whoever published the CC document should leave Chris’ team today. Whether they get pushed or leave of their own accord is a matter for their own judgement.

  • Rob Blackie 18th Nov '07 - 1:42pm

    Damage can be limited if Chris disowns the document and gets rid of the person responsible – which I hope he will.

  • John in Penarth 18th Nov '07 - 1:52pm

    Hi Mark – I think for me the worst bit was that Chris wouldn’t say sorry even for the title of the briefing (and thereby end the beeb’s interest in it so they could move on to something more hopeful for whatever time was left) – instead he kept banging on about Nick’s policy deficiencies, as he saw them.

    Still, we’ve been through worse (alas). Don’t give up.

  • Mark Hooper 18th Nov '07 - 1:52pm

    37 – David – could be much, much worse!

  • John in Penarth 18th Nov '07 - 1:54pm

    and the link David posted at 37 is sadly only exactly what would result.

  • Angus J Huck 18th Nov '07 - 1:55pm

    37 posts worth of utter drivel about a TV programme I haven’t seen.

    X was nasty to Y. Y was nasty to X. Who the hell cares? Can’t we grow up?

    If the people so far posting in this thread are representative of the party, then oblivion is what we deserve.

  • Mark Hooper 18th Nov '07 - 1:56pm

    Thanks John (38) – I (and other Lib Dem members I’ve spoken to) are just so angry.

    I fear, unless this put to rest (by Chris) then this could get worse!

  • Mark Hooper 18th Nov '07 - 2:01pm

    Angus (41) – perhaps you should watch it. Self-inflicted damage like this is definately something we should avoid!

  • I have no problem with rough and tumble in any leadership contest, however, any candidate must be aware that come 17th December they will need to work with each other and also ensure that they do not do or say anything that plays into our opponents hands. Huhne has broken that fundamental rule. Our rivals, unless it is squashed quickly, will use the ‘calamity Clegg’ tag. It would be far better to expose the differences between the party as a whole and ‘calamity Cameron’.

    Perhaps, Clegg should come out in favour of school vouchers – we would then have some real differences to debate.

  • I think most of the posters are over-reacting to Chris Huhne’s aggressive stance. The party needs a bruiser to take on Brown and Cameron and make himself heard. I think Chris is more likely to achieve that than Clegg, who seems to be more concerned with being likeable and uncontroversial.

    Sure, there was some unpleasantness (and don’t forget that Clegg has previously said some nasty things about Huhne), but that will soon be forgotten and won’t prevent either candidate giving the other a top post if they win.

    And Huhne is right that although Clegg has recently declared that he is not in favour of school vouchers, he has not actually disowned the comments attributed to him by the Scotsman. This raises the serious question of whether we can trust Clegg not to push for this Tory policy in future.

    So it’s the bruiser for me.

  • Tony Greaves 18th Nov '07 - 2:13pm

    I did not see this programme which was reported in the household to have not been good.

    However the problem we have is this. Nick Clegg as leader does indeed risk being a “calamity” in my view. That is the real issue of this election – the way he does not come clean on so many things and hides behind passionate waffle. We are entitled to consider what he has said and written over the years not just what he says in response to this campaign.

    My view is that as leader he risks being chewed up by Brown and by the media rottweilers. I also think he simply has not got the “presence” needed by a leader. You cannot get over these things by being loudly and vacuously passionate for ever.

    These are the kind of vitally important things that will really matter in future (pace Ming). But how do they get properly discussed in a campaign like this?

    Tony Greaves

  • Rabi Martins 18th Nov '07 - 2:23pm

    Leadership contests should be tough and highlight candidates strengths and weaknesses.

    Today’s show has begun to do this –

    I agree both candidates could have handled things better – but let us not be too hard on them – they are both very new MPs (2 years!)

    I agree with Rob (35) if Chris did not authroise the CC stuff he should disown it and the person who wrote it

    I don’t think “wanting it too much” is a bad thing – Leading the third Party is a touch job and who ever goes for this job must want it at all costs

    Am I concerned that if Chris wins he will find it hard to unite the Party ?
    Not at all

    Whoever wins – our MPs nad members will give him 100% support – even if on past form it turns out we can only live with him for just a couple of years !!

  • Rob Blackie 18th Nov '07 - 2:24pm

    Tony @ 46 can I suggest that whoever wins it would be helpful if you didn’t brief against them to the media. I saw you brief to about 5 national journalists words to the effect of that Charles Kennedy had just suffered a bad defeat for a stupid policy at the Blackpool Conference in 2005. Whoever is leader we owe loyalty to – and to express doubts in private not through the national media.

  • Well I hadn’t decided who to support yet but an MP once told me that the Liberal party shouldn’t do anything until Tony Greaves had opposed it, so now I know which way to vote!

  • Richard Whelan 18th Nov '07 - 2:30pm

    I was most disappointed to see Chris Huhne being so vicious towards Nick Clegg on the Politics Show today. If people didn’t know anything would think that both were members of different parties not candidates campaigning for the leadership of the same party. It is important that the Leadership Contest doesn’t degenerate into a clash of personalities, something I know Nick himself pointed out, otherwise our long term prospects will be bleak since the electorate don’t like divided parties. I was already going to vote for Nick in this Leadership Contest but after seeing the Politics Show this lunchtime I am more determined then ever to vote for him and ensure Chris is defeated.

  • Angus J Huck 18th Nov '07 - 2:41pm

    Mark Hooper, whoever he might be, tells me to “watch it”. This is the Liberal Democrats, not the National Front. So no-one tells me to “watch it”, Mark Hooper.

    Then we have the usual twaddle from Linda Jack, a lady whose opinions are so ill-informed and banal I am disinclined to take anything she says seriously.

    There are serious policy issues to be debated here. If Chris thinks Nick is being evasive, then it his duty to flush him out. That may cause certain solemn people to blush, but it is something we have to get used to in a democracy, I’m afraid.

    The title “Calamity Clegg” was bloody stupid, and should not have got past Lord Newby (who probably didn’t see it). But I am totally opposed to the scapegoating of inexperienced volunteers who make silly mistakes. Systems should be in place to stop this kind of thing happening, but do bear in mind, this is a campaign team thrown together in a matter of days.

    Clearly, Clegg supporters are bombarding this forum with cries of mock outrage as a smokescreen to hide the real issues with policy that beset Nicks candidature.

    Clegg supporters have been equally nasty to Huhne. All this talk about Chris being “dull” and “odd”.

    Tony Greaves has hit the nail on the head. Look past the tittle-tattle and address the issues.

  • From BBC website:
    A spokeswoman for Mr Huhne said the title of the leaked document “Calamity Clegg” had been thought up by an “over-zealous researcher”.

    She added that Mr Huhne stood by the contents of the document – a list of quotations which she which she said showed Mr Clegg’s policy “flip-flops”.

    So we have a second great Huhne blunder of misjudgement – how many juniors in the office can there be to blame?
    It’s getting shameful chris – I’m really sorry for you…

  • 45. There are more ways than one of being a political bruiser, and what Chris is displaying certainly isn’t what we want. Coming across as nasty will only weaken our message. Kennedy knew that.

  • 56. So the researcher was ‘over-zealous’ but Huhne stands by the contents?! Make up your mind, Chris!

  • Mark Hooper 18th Nov '07 - 3:00pm

    54 – Thanks for the advice Angus!

    ‘Perhaps’ you shouid re-read my original piece.


  • Hywel Morgan 18th Nov '07 - 3:00pm

    “I agree both candidates could have handled things better – but let us not be too hard on them – they are both very new MPs (2 years!)”

    Sorry – they cannot run the line of “I’m only an inexperienced MP” when they are running for party leader.

    They both got shown up as unable to keep their cool when coming under fire on live TV. Well what do you think will happen in an election. If either of them was leader and lost the plot like that in a live debate during a general election it really would be a calamity.

  • Angus J Huck 18th Nov '07 - 3:06pm

    There are two overriding issues in this campaign:-

    (1) Are we to be a party of the centre-left or the centre-right?

    (2) Are we to be an autonomous party, or do we allow outsiders to manipulate us?

    Should we not be talking about these rather than engaging in a primary school playground debate about who has been rude to whom?

  • Rob Blackie 18th Nov '07 - 3:17pm

    Angus nobody in the campaign wants the party to be anything other than a centre left / centre party. I’ve never in 16 years of being a party member, 6 years of being a party member of staff and heavily involved in my local party have ever met anyone who wants us to be a centre right party!

  • John in Penarth 18th Nov '07 - 3:20pm

    Angus- a couple of responses to some of your posts.

    54: Mark is a committed activist and candidate from the constituency next door to where I live. He works very hard for the party. However you want to spin it, every time we have a public shambles like today’s ‘debate’ much good work done by activists on the ground gets undone.

    63: in even thinking about debating whether we are a party of the centre-left or centre-right, we ARE allowing outsiders to manipulate us.

    I’m not commenting though on your thoughts on a debate you say you haven’t seen as, clearly, there’s no point.

  • Well no doubt now that if Huhne wins, Lib Dems will become the new Nasty Party.

  • I have not yet finally decided who to vote for, but my wife,who is not a party member and has a mind of her own, said she preferred Nick Clegg. She said the same after Question Time, and that for me indicates how the general public feel. Looks like Nick Clegg would have the greater appeal.

  • Nasty Party? Isn’t that how the Nazi Party was described in one of R. Crompton’s Just William books?

  • This is clearly a cock up on the part of the Huhne campaign although Huhne’s response was an example of either a) fantastic acting skills or b) very good calm under pressure. One thing that impresses me about Huhne is that he doesn’t let the TV presenters better him.

    Both of them then did less well as the argument ensued.

    It would be helpful if the contents of the document itself were to posted in a more private forum so that we can judge it for ourselves.

  • 76 Alex – my feelings have been much the same. There has been far more bile aimed at Huhne by the likes of Linda Jack (who at least writes in her own name) but who as a candidate for the Euro elections needs to learn some restraint – and one or two recently started anonymous blogs such as ‘Harold Muckle’ – than by the Huhne campaign.

  • Elizabeth Patterson 18th Nov '07 - 4:48pm

    I think Chris Huhne knows what he is about, and had to deal with the underdog tag by some aggressive play to show he can dominate an opponent. The new leader has got to show he can take on antagonists and keep cool; not rely on passion and charm to make his case.

    What worries me most about Nick is that he is heavily endorsed by the parliamentary party and most of the party establishment including Paddy and Shirley W. These are all the same people who, while being great MPs etc, made such a blunder over the last succession. They decided to:
    # dump Charles in the most humiliating way,
    # try for a coronation,
    # not realise that Vince would have been better than Ming.
    These actions have all had disastrous results, so how will we get on with Nick? Perhaps we will see him turned over by the press for seeming light weight in comparison with Brown. Will they say we have gone from too old to too young?

  • Alex @ 76
    I think the real view which everyone agrees on is that no-one came out well on the politics show. Chris could be portrayed as looking strong and firm and Nick as calm and humane. But the spat shouldn’t have happened at all in this way and in an internal election like this there shouldn’t be briefings trashing the other candidate put out to journalists. This was done on Friday don’t forget – not a new error today…


  • Come off it Linda…you hardly showed restraint when given the chance to undermine Ming’s leadership but giving quotes to BBC journalists.

  • We all have to assess our choice in our own way. I’m surprised the way this has turned… it seems odd as it’s like neither of the two people I know (Nick and Chris). I had views on which might be left or right but decided that they were both lib dems, they were both senior in the shadow cabinet etc etc. On policy I think Chris was interesting on Trident and likewise Nick on ID cards – but somehow it has turned.

    Nick for me is the more human, connected, personable and together candidate. I find him more engaging, interactive and passionate about both policy AND people.

    That latter combination is unusual and it’s one of the reasons I have been clear from the offset that Nick was a sure bet.

    I’m not claiming anyone has innocence smoothed over them but you can but hope that internal contests such as this are done cleanly. At the moment it reminds me for example why I so hate internal PPC selections…


  • Richard Church 18th Nov '07 - 5:34pm

    Why has an apology and a ‘mea culpa’ posted by Anna Werrin on Chris Huhne’s website at about 4pm this afternoon, together with the full text of the ‘Calamity Clegg’ document now been withdrawn?

    Richard Church

  • Is Linda Jack an obsessive?

  • Paul Elgood 18th Nov '07 - 5:38pm

    I was a little concerned about Nick’s line taking credit on ID cards. That is a party policy position and we are all (and clearly Chris Huhne is just as much) part of that. Our policy line isn’t down to just Nick, even if his portfolio meant he led on it for the party (and indeed on behalf of all of us).

  • Don’t you think it’s time we had a leader who can really put the boot in on the appalling NuLabCon?

    From today’s performance that’s clearly more likely to be Chris Huhne. Having been undecided until now, I’m now leaning towards Chris.

  • so … nearly 6 hours after the debacle, has anyone admitted to drafting ‘calamity clegg’ and gone on to do the decent thing?

    Only a question.

  • Mark Hooper 18th Nov '07 - 6:04pm

    Good question 96.

    No answer so far.

    Disappointed Huhne supporters like me are waiting for the ‘decent thing’.

  • I’ve only just seen the highlights of this on the BBC News. And I strongly disagree with Ralph at 45- ‘The party needs a bruiser to take on Brown and Cameron and make himself heard ‘ – Really?!
    Given the few women who are commenting on this find bullying and hectoring a turn off, I’d think its safe to say that the 56% of women who go out and vote (as opposed to 47% of men) will also find Chris’ style off putting.
    To me it smacks of desperation. Huhne’s camp clearly think they’re losing and have themselves lost the plot!!

    We expect cut and thrust in politics, but not the shambolic attempt to throw spurious allegations at your opponent. Chris is a clever guy who must think that by being aggressive he’ll attract more votes.
    I’m wondering if the women MPs who are supporting Chris, who complain that they hate macho bullying politics in Westminster, approve of this?

  • Richard Church 18th Nov '07 - 6:13pm

    Apology from Anna Werrin now back on Huhne’s website, this time blaming someone else for it.

    The document itself is a collection of predictable quotes from Clegg and other people twisted to imply they mean things which Clegg has explicitly and repeatedly repudiated.

  • 80 – Linda – Huhne has generally shown far more restraint during the contest than you have on your blog. I was merely pointing out that several bloggers, including yourself, have been consistently negative themselves, yet have today criticised Huhne for it.

    90 – there appears to be an apology on Huhne’s site now.

  • Gareth Epps 18th Nov '07 - 6:24pm

    Ed F(ordham), Rob, Jeremy, Linda:

    Well what a surprise it is that you’re all howling with indignation? Two of you are intimately involved with Nick’s campaign, and the other two are hardly neutral.

    Having only just got home and looked at the clip online (and checked out an apology on Chris’ campaign website) it looks like robust politics and at least seems to have kickstarted debate in the contest. To highlight issues and the need for a clear direction is important, whatever a naive researcher in search of a title may come up with.

    78 – Elizabeth – you make a very good and important point.

    Meanwhile the campaign teams need to get a grip (certainly including the four of you named above!).

  • I hear on the BBC that Nick Clegg’s campaign has now made an official complaint about the briefing note. This whole thing is descending into farce.

  • Rabi Martins 18th Nov '07 - 6:41pm

    Hywel 62 – But they were the only two brave enough to put their names forward – so for that at least we owe them our thanks

    Whichever wins will soon grow into the job and do us proud

    I agree with Angus 63 – it would help to know which direction each of them would try to steer us

    We need the public to understand what we mean by the “Liberal Democrat” way

    Anonymous – One thing the Liberal Democrats will never become is the “Nasty Party” because we stand and live for Social Justice and a Fair and Open Society!

  • Deep breaths all round I think.

    It’s easy to get suckered into fighting on your opponents territory, but we need seize the wider agenda and do some suckering of our own. I fear the prospect that this election will prove to lodge a divisive wedge between the significant components of the party just as it seems we are able to unite over the broader issues that the public is beginning to recognise.
    At local levels, away from the irrelevance of any leadership or personality tussles, we are scoring significant points without making any huge impact and I hope we will continue to do so: we are about more than one or two over-qualified icons, so we shouldn’t glorify any death-match between the current pairing who happened to have climbed the parapet of fame, just so that we can gasp when they fall.

  • well, it seems like someone from Chris’ team has apologised for the leaked briefing … and now they’ve released the whole text, only with a different title, ie: “Nick Clegg in the media on public services reform and proportional representation.”

    So that’s okay then (?)

  • Some of us still haven’t made up our minds at all, let alone changed or voiced any favoritism.
    I’m trying to remain open-minded as well as broad-minded.

  • Chris Huhne was an absolute disgrace on the politics show. Thankfully Nick Clegg didn’t come down to Huhne’s level.

  • Charles Anglin 18th Nov '07 - 7:37pm

    I´m a declared Clegg supporter, so I don´t claim to be a disinterested observer. However, I have to join the chorus of disapproval for Chris´s performance today.

    The problem with the document is that it is not an isolated incident. Whether its digs at the hustings, rants by blog supporters, private media briefings, or campaign emails Chris has fought a strongly negative campaign.

    There is nothing wrong with criticising your opponents positions, so long as you don´t repeatedly claim that they hold views that they patently don´t. That is what Chris is doing to Nick. Today he overplayed his hand and I hope that it will now stop.

    That having been said the so called apology is itself pretty disgraceful. Only apologising for the title then publishing the document is really quite an unappealing tactic. If Nick wins, and even if he doesn´t Chris has handed our opponents plenty of ammunition to attack the party with.

  • Duncan Clark 18th Nov '07 - 7:48pm

    While the debate today was not exactly ‘top draw’, I think two important points arose:

    Chris, when bowled a ‘googly’, took it in his stride and said ‘Not me Gov’ and admitted the ‘own goal’. He then went on the ‘attack'(perhaps too well!).

    Nick, in turn, looked increasingly angry and, it seemed to me, lost control of his voice and the argument.

    Whatever the subject of the argument, Chris went up in my estimation today as a ‘performer’ and as someone who can tackle Brown and Cameron effectively.

    He also does not give in easily when being questioned by the interviewer – the trick is to keep this balanced, and avoid being seen as ‘too agrressive’.

  • dominic hannigan 18th Nov '07 - 7:55pm

    My goodness, gracious me!
    Having spent the day delivering (which is maybe what some of the most bile venting people above should have been doing instead)I return and the world has exploded.
    I am terrified that after all this is over, one of the top two talents in our party will be entirely excluded from the front bench. This would be disasterous for unity and ability.

    In my mind, the problem is that we elected Ming in the first place. The party was unified under Charles. Friendly, united and happy, but also too safe.

    Ming’s leadership was dominated by the build up of the Clegg vs Huhne atmosphere, and nothing more. This exploded today, it was bound to eventually.
    Most of the fault lies with those (not Nick himself) who spent the last couple of years attempting to do-down Chris. They built a nasty atmosphere, not becoming of our party.

    None of this would have ever happenned if the Parliamentary Party had been sensible and brave and recognised (as many of us mere mortals did) that Ming was not up to the job. Then Clegg could have stood last time, we would have had a better leader (Nick or Chris)and we would be united, healthy and would have hundreds more Lib Dem Councillors, more AMs and more MSPs. It is as simple as that.

  • 113 Charles – in my estimation there have been far more blog articles attacking Huhne than Clegg. Go back through Linda’s blog for the past few weeks, or recent and anonymous blogger ‘Harold Muckle’ for example.

    There appears to have been a concerted effort to use blog postings to attack Huhne for being negative to a degree that is far more negative than any of the things Huhne is accused of having done.

    There have been digs at hustings both ways – Huhne on vouchers and health insurance, Clegg on Trident and attacking Huhne on his ability to get the environment message across – pretty much even stevens in my view.

    I have recieved several emails from the Huhne campaign and they haven’t struck me as being at all negative.

    I can’t comment on media briefings as I haven’t been party to them (have you?) but there doesn’t seem to have been much negative stuff in the media at all. There have been a few diary pieces about Huhne.

  • That was ugly by an party’s standards.

    Makes a Respect meeting look like an example of polite society.

  • So after getting back from the pub and reading these posts I can safely say:

    1) If your a Clegg supporter you are appalled at Warring/Huhne/whoever it was.

    2) If you are a Huhne supporter you think the criticism was correct, and Clegg is a loser for complaining in the proper manner to Cowley Street.

    3) If you are a soft supporter and watched the programme you now think Huhne is nasty.

    That about right?

  • Once we all cool down a bit perhaps we need to consider – is there any substance in the persistent allegations of flip-flopping from Huhne which Clegg persists in denying?
    Sam Says (117) posted the following link on a previous blog.

    Is there not something to answer here?

    Of course the “Calamity Clegg” title should never have seen the light of day but let’s look at the substance rather than the shadow.

  • 117 – Of the bloggers the most appalling one comes from the Clegg side, one called ‘The anti-Chris’, which is one of the most vile things that I’ve read and most likely a sockpuppet for someone trying to keep their hands clean.

  • Steve Comer 18th Nov '07 - 9:08pm

    I agree with Sam (117) on the hustings, having attended two now. I must say I’ve seen more unpleasantness from ‘Cleggies’ directed at ‘Huhneistas’ than I have the other way. Many of Clegg’s supporters have a superior ‘we know best’ manner about them, and this is not going down well with a lot of members.

    I’ve just watched the Politics Show piece, and agree it wasn’t particularly edifying, but lets get it in perspective. Both candidates showed signs of strong irritation with the other, which I suppose we should put down to frustration and campaign stress.

    Chris has apologised for ‘Calamisty Clegg’, and I hope Nick accepts that and the two of them get back to the proper political debate in the run up to Newsnight on Tuesday and the remaining hustings.

    Negative campaigning is an unfortunate fact of life today, but as others have said Clegg supporters (eg. Linda Jack and Charlotte Gore) have done much of this on line, and others have been ‘spinning’ to the media since the campaign started. There is an old adage about ‘people in glass houses’, and some should remember that before they express righteous indignation quite so loudly.

  • Hywel Morgan 18th Nov '07 - 9:08pm

    Sorry – I don’t think the explanation adds up.

    When you are producing this sort of attack document a great deal of care (should) goes into it to ensure that any allegations are correct and backed up by sources.

    Certainly some of the background work could be done by a junior researcher but the idea that they would then be responsible for deciding whether the finished version should go out to the press is ludicrous.

    Were I running a campaign and doing this sort of thing then I would certainly expect the agent to agree it and probably have the candidates thumb print on it.

    That would go double if the campaign had already run into problems with similar unapproved material!

    Chris needs to make it clear whether the “overzealous junior researcher” is still part of his campaign. He said in an interview with John Pienaar that they weren’t an employee so no reason why they can’t be

  • I think we can expect both candidates to go out, as they have done with their respective briefs, and attack MPs from the other parties on Home Affairs and the Environment. I think Nick looked genuinely taken aback at the torrent of negativity from Chris today. Had he attacked back, then he would have handed our opponents and the media great fodder for the future. He did not, and now seems to be accused by some of Huhnes supporters, of being ‘wishy washy’ I am pleased he did not get drawn into getting personal. He seems to have the cooler head, looking ahead and aware that they will have to work together after Dec 17.

  • Rabi Martins 18th Nov '07 - 9:11pm

    Don’t you just love elections !

    They bring out the best of worst in the worst of the
    best of us !!!

    Reminds me something I once read somewhere … “If he knows not and knows not that he knows not – he is a fool – shun him”

    Problem is I am not sure which camp “knows Not” the most!!!!

  • Mark Wright 18th Nov '07 - 9:24pm

    Being able to stay calm when under fire, even if that fire is outrageous, is an important part of being a leader. Cameron, for example, doesn’t have that ability and is easily riled into an unpleasant mood by those who know how. I hope the next LD leader has that ability.

  • #126 I’m with you!

    I have a question I want to ask: what effect people think the general tone and quality of the election will have on a)turnout b)membership?

    While it has definitely got the blogosphere pumping and the commentariat buzzing (at least on our side of the pond), has it made any impact in the promotion of our aims? Is it winning people over, turning people off, or entrenching the divide between those who do and those who don’t?

  • 125 – Sorry, I post on politicalbetting usually. I don’t use my full name as I’m a teacher and want to avoid being googleable!

  • John in Penarth 18th Nov '07 - 9:42pm

    Dom’s right (116) that we can’t have a front-bench with one or other excluded, presumably huffing on the back-benches a la mode Ted Heath. Not quite sure though how the Parliamentary party will manage to pull things back together after the result is out, but the ‘establishment’ ought to be putting feelers out to both camps right now.

    And then the rest of us should start to think how the ordinary members might take back control of the direction of the party as, frankly, the Parliamentarians and other ‘establishment’ figures remain tarnished in many minds by what they did to CK and their inability to manage the fall-out that they caused.

  • Alex @ 127, I was refering to comments on other Lib Dem blogs, not specifically on LDV. A fair number of CH supporters have latched onto the fact that NC did not attack back and the phrase ‘wishy washy’ has cropped up a number of times.
    No I’m not attacking anyone who is a CH supporter, just because I support Nick. I’ve said on my own blog, that we have 2 excellent candidates, and that its unusual for so many members to say they’d be happy if either men win. Though I must admit had I been a CH supporter,I’d have been very turned off by CHs performance today. In all party selections, including PPC, GLA etc, rules do not permit candidates basically slagging off each other. But then Party rules are so inconsistent!

  • In government a minister would bear the brunt of the blame if a member off their team were show such a degree of stupidity or incompetence and it become so embarrassingly public.

    Surely My Huhne, whether he knew about the document or not, should likewise bear the brunt of the blame. It was his own incompetence and inefficiency that led to such a memo leaving his office without appropriate censorship. Does this obvious lack of attention to detail and commitment to his campaign signal the hallmarks of leader?

  • MatGB: I think anyone elected leader needs some time to grow into the job. I remember when Charles K was elected Leader, it took him a general election to grow into the role.Since he stood down as leader, ironically, he’s never been more popular!
    I think one thing that Nick shares with Charles, is that ability to connect in that self effacing way with ordinary people, which is quite rare in politicians.
    I personally think that Nick has got a lot to give and will grow and develop his own distinct style

  • Mat, I think we just agree to disagree. I’m not going to give you or anyone else grief over this (thanks for the plug, but 10 years…bit extreme!) And to prove it read my blog on this:

  • Dan Falchikov 18th Nov '07 - 11:57pm

    Well well well a bit of life in what has been so far a dire contest between two candidates who in my view have been horrendously over-promoted.

    Given that about 90% of the posts on either side of the debate appear to be from the respective campaigns there is little this thread tells us.

    Chris has run an agressive but neaderthal campaign (like last time). Again it is remarkably thin skinned – happy to dish out the dirt, but falling back on the schoolboy get out ‘we didn’t start it and anyway Nick is much worse.’

    As a back seat member in this contest I am unaware of the volumes of criticism from the Clegg camp directed towards Huhne, just as I was last time when Huhne was blaming Ming’s team for dishing the dirt.

    Clegg is equally bad in a pretty boy with white teeth kind of way. This was an opportunity to deliver a big blow against Huhne with a denunciation of negative campaigning – the stock response in the USA to negative campaigns. He hasn’t even mugged up on the basics of US political campaigning.

    If he is the man who can reach out to non-Lib Dems (and they’re a growing bunch) then being allowed to be shouted down by a poor man’s John Major is hardly an impressive way to do it.

  • (a lapsed Tory voter)

    Missing a trick with Cable ,better than both on offer , wouldn’t have wallowed in the trough that these two were in.
    Who ever wins , they are going to have a back stabber undermining from the rear trenches , with a sizable following to boot …

    It’s a pity

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