Dear Michael Gove…

Dear Michael,

You’re in the news today saying that the “novelty” of Nick Clegg will wear off when his policies come under further scrutiny.

Guess you must have missed last night’s TV debate then, with the two occasions when David Cameron directly put Liberal Democrat policies under scrutiny and said they wouldn’t work.

Only thing is, on both occasions – how to fund taking millions out of income tax and how to have a regionally based immigration system – Nick Clegg straight away responded with a detailed answer covering all of Cameron’s points.

And in both cases that response silenced Cameron on the point – he picked no holes in the explanations.

So if that’s what happens when Lib Dem policies come under scrutiny, I’m not sure it’ll have the effect you are quite hoping for.



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  • Ruth Bright 16th Apr '10 - 9:09am

    Completely right. Clegg also did especially well with the policy detail when he was pressed by Jeremy Paxman on health and education. Even the headlines in the Telegraph and Times are simply extraordinary for Clegg this morning and deservedly so.

    But how on earth is poor old Lib Dem News going to report this? It normally goes into ecstasies about Nick simply puttting his tie on straight in the morning. Now he has done something truly brilliant it has nowhere else to go but to explode with adoration!

  • Bill Kristol-Balls 16th Apr '10 - 11:06am

    How many opportunities do the Tories need. George Osborne stood next to Vince Cable for an hour in the Chancellors debate and David Cameron stood next to Nick Clegg of an hour and a half.

    If the Lib Dems haven’t been scrutinised, it’s the Tories own fault.

    ps – Mr Cameron, spend a bit less time finger painting with the kids and a bit more time sitting down with Jeremy Paxman and then come and talk about scrutiny.

  • BBC online news quotes Gove telling Sky that some Lib Dem policies were “outside the mainstream and a little bit eccentric”.

    Presumably that would be the same “mainstream” that’s seen inequality increase steadily for the 30 years since Thatcher took office, the economy coming to depend on the casino aka ‘The CIty’ and which then crashed the economy because it never understood how it actually works.

    Time to dump the “mainstream” I think.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 16th Apr '10 - 1:06pm

    I think if the next round of polls shows the Lib Dems becoming a more significant threat to the Tories – or to Labour for that matter – it’s only to be expected that the other parties will spend more time attacking Lib Dem policies.

    I was dismayed to hear Nick Clegg in the debate repeating the class size figures relating to the pupil premium, which fall apart under a moment’s scrutiny. I presume the only reason that the other parties haven’t yet pointed that out is that they don’t consider it worth their while.

    That’s one hostage to fortune. Another is Viscount Falkland’s £140,000 overnight allowance claims, which may well be mentioned if Clegg continues to say how proud he is of his parliamentarians’ record on expenses. I thought “Holier than thou” was Cameron’s most palpable hit of the evening against Clegg.

    I thought the other weak point was the handling of the Trident replacement issue. Clegg seemed almost apologetic about that policy (“All I’m saying is …”). A better line really needs to be sorted out before the second debate. Surely it’s not too hard to argue that we don’t need a hyper-sophisticated, hi-tech, high-cost nuclear deterrent in this day and age?

  • “BBC online news quotes Gove telling Sky that some Lib Dem policies were “outside the mainstream and a little bit eccentric”.”

    Michael Gove must be referring to what his American string-pullers get up to at Bohemian Grove.

    For me, the most enjoyable bit of last night’s “Question Time” was Gove having to defend his party’s position on selective grammar schools. He was visibly uncomfortable. Nigel Fagage was loving it!

    By the way. Trident is not and has never been an “independent” deterrent. It is an American system, controlled from Washington, that we pay for.

  • Maybe my opinions are biased because I am 5 hours behind and across the pound – but having worked for a number of upstart campaigns I can tell you it is going to get ugly and mean fast. The Tories know they have to try to destroy Clegg. They will use small details, things taken out of context, and anything else they can scrap together to throw Clegg off message and create doubt about him. Cameron himself won’t do this, but it will come from surrogates. This is exactly what George Bush’s people did to John McCain in 2000 and John Kerry in 2004. I suggest people get ready of a bruising and nasty fight, he can win – but it’s going to be tough from here on out.

  • Totally agree with you Dan. The Tory trolls are already setting to work plastering the websites of the newspaper comment sections with complete caricatures of Lib Dem policy on the Euro, Trident and immigration.

  • The biggest mistake we can make (and I have seen candidates do it) is say “we shouldn’t justify that with a response.” Attacks need to be meet and repelled. Misinformation needs to be clarified and turned back at them. What are the blogs/news sites to watch?

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