Nick and Miriam join Lorraine to talk about inspiring women and school meals – and grate cheese

Nick Clegg got cheesy yesterday morning on ITV’s Lorraine show. He was helping their chef make ragu for going on bonfire baked potatoes and was entrusted with chopping onion, carrot and celery and grating cheese which he seemed to carry out with reasonable competence. My mind boggled a bit when he asked which bit of the grater he should use. It was for going on top of a baked potato. It didm’t really matter.

Anyway, he took the opportunity to talk about the successful introduction of his school meals policy. This was not a serious political interview. It was never going to be, but it is quite nice to see well-informed discussion of the issues in an informal way. I think Nick should be doing much more of these things. You can watch him here.

His wife Miriam Gonzalez Durantez was on as well, talking about her Inspiring Women campaign and of the emotional resilience you have to develop when someone you love is getting dragged through the mire every single day. Miriam doesn’t let it bother her. She wasn’t sure that she would have the emotional strength to pursue her own career in politics but added that saying that might come back to haunt her. Interestingly, she said that she felt she should stay out of party politics because she wasn’t elected. While being the wife of the Deputy Prime Minister could give her a platform for a campaign like Inspiring Women, she didn’t feel she should take overtly party political points of view.

Asked about how she juggles her career, outside commitments, three children and Nick’s career, she mentioned the help she has at home and from hers and Nick’s mothers.

Asked who she would pick to play Nick in a movie about him, she asked if George Clooney were available. You can watch her segment here.

I liked the conversation between her and Lorraine, who treated her in a much more respectful way than the BBC did. Why can’t they get their heads round the fact that Mrs Clegg isn’t her name? I’ve complained to them before about the way they’ve treated her. They once sounded quite judgemental that she had actually gone home and done her job in the middle of Liberal Democrat Conference. Unbelievable.

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

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  • “Why can’t they get their heads round the fact that Mrs Clegg isn’t her name?”

    Caron, are you questioning the collective cultural andpolitical bias of the BBC ?

    The organisation that gave us Jimmy Savile and ‘the flight of the Dimbleby’ is surely beyond any criticism?

  • “she mentioned the help she has at home”

    Referring to domestic servants as “the help” is generally considered pretty derogatory these days (as well as being another of those pesky Americanisms).

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 6th Nov '14 - 9:34pm

    “Domestic servants?” It’s not Downton Abbey, Stuart.

  • @Caron
    Nor is it the American deep south in the ’50s. Any better suggestions for how we should refer to the Cleggs’ domestic staff?

    One thing’s for sure: Lorraine Kelly should be embarrassed about asking a wealthy lawyer with domestic staff how on earth she “juggles” her career with looking after children.

  • Conor McGovern 7th Nov '14 - 12:11am

    I actually really liked Miriam’s interview. Even if she is allegedly more conservative than Nick, she definitely promoted liberal opinions to me.

  • They LibDems know there are no votes to be gained from Nick Clegg going on television, but put him along side Miriam and who knows it might work. It’s a tactic I’m sure we will see more often as the election draws nearer. It is rather sad though that the parties best asset is the leaders attractive wife.

  • Chevening House is not Downton Abbey.

    But there are similarities —

    Chevening House is the real life official residence of Nick Clegg and his family.

    Strangely it did not get a mention in this homely daytime TV fluffy interview.

    I doubt if during their time there either Nick or Miriam have to wrestle with a cheese grater.

    It also seems highly unlikely that when they are at Chevening they have to depend on Nick’s mum to make the beds or whip round with a duster and the Hoover to smarten up the 150 bedrooms.

    Call me a cynic but this cosy little chat with Lorraine might not be giving us the whole truth about life for Miriam and Nick.

  • PaulWalter

    That’s his choice, but it’s his to live in if he wishes and I’m sure that they have had many a nice family long weekend there. If he hasn’t used such a beautiful home, he would be a bigger chump that a lot of people think he is already.

    Still got those Liz Lynne adverts flashing away. I don’t know the lady – except for the odd TV appearence – but I hope she finishes third in the election just to get rid of the advert.

  • Martin Land 7th Nov '14 - 11:50am

    Mrs Clegg is her name isn’t it?

    Though Miriam might be more polite.

  • No Martin, it is not her name. Quite apart from the fact that women are no longer obliged to assume their husband’s surname in Anglo-Saxon countries Miriam Gonzalez Durantez is Spanish. Traditionally Spanish women do not take their husband’s surname. I mean I do understand your confusion what with her being a) a woman and b) foreign but you know it really isn’t that hard to refer to her by her proper name.

  • Conor McGovern 7th Nov '14 - 1:05pm

    It’s obviously different in Martin Land.

  • Andrew, As I understand, the children would have lost the Gonzalez, (which would be Miriam’s matriarchal name) and they become Durantez Clegg? Maybe Miriam could confirm?

  • M Harvey
    Nope. Gonzalez is the name she inherited from her father. Usually the children would be Clegg Gonzalez though Gonzalez Clegg is also possible. Spanish names have form – Forename/ paternal surname / maternal surname. Since about the mid 18th century patrilineal surname transmission has been the norm.

  • The fact is that the Clegg Family have lived at Chevening House.
    It is not a state secret — you only need to read the  newspapers or those pesky Parliamentary Questions.   See links below–

    I am even told that his big parties and guests at Chevening are listed on the party website but I cannot find that link.  
    There is no mention of who did the washing-up after these grand occasions but my bet is that it was not Nick’s mum.

    Broadcaster Clare Balding and her partner Alice Arnold were among dozens of names from the worlds of politics, the media and business who were guests of Nick Clegg at his official country residence.

    The first release of information about visitors to Chevening also showed entrepreneur and former Dragons’ Den star James Caan – who has worked alongside Mr Clegg on social mobility initiatives – was a guest with his wife Aisha.

    Balding, who shot to new heights of fame for her coverage of the London Olympics and Paralympics, was among the names on the list released by Mr Clegg’s office of visitors to the Kent country house between June 2011 and June 2013.

    Other guests included former transport secretary Lord Adonis – who was part of the Labour negotiating team attempted to stitch together a coalition with Mr Clegg’s Liberal Democrats in the days following the 2010 election.

  • Paul Walter Paul Walter 7th Nov '14 - 4:07pm

    Those are all normal official guests to normal official receptions. I really don’t see why you are so obsessed with the man.

  • I am not suggesting that Nick and Miriam have lived exclusively at Chevening. I guess they spend term times in Putney but as the media has often reported there are times every years when the family live in Miriam’s home in Spain, or in the family’s ski mansion in the Alps, and even in the constituency house in Sheffield although I think that might have been sold a couple of year’s ago.

    My original point was that the domestic arrangements described in the TV programme did not tell the whole truth.

    People cannot go on TV and pretend that they are just living like everybody else “juggling” their busy lives in a time ofnausterity when in reality they spend their time jetting between various family homes around Europe as well as the partying at Chevening House.

  • Andrew, thanks for clarifying the way around it all goes!! Still family Clegg however you look at it.

  • David Allen 7th Nov '14 - 4:44pm

    “Well they can and they just did”

    That comment translates directly as “Yah, boo, sucks.” Paul, on reflection, would you like to withdraw it before one of your colleagues spots it and does the necessary?

  • Martin Land 7th Nov '14 - 5:42pm

    Well she’ll always be Mrs Clegg to me and to most of the people we are hoping to attract to vote for us…

    I didn’t need the lesson in Spanish names; I’m a fluent Spanish speaker. I’d just like us to realise that the person calling her Mrs Clegg is far more ‘normal’ and that’s her name outside of Islington, Camden, LD Blogsphere, etc. and until we get that message we’re doomed.

  • @John Tilley
    I’m sure Nick and Miriam are looked after royally at Chevening. But I was alluding more to the fact that Nick confirmed on his radio show earlier this year that he has domestic staff. It’s also known that they had several domestic staff when they lived in Brussels :-,-miriam-gonzalez-belgians-claims-on-mrs-clegg-spring-tax-.html#.VF0FNWfuPcs

    Which is fine – I’d employ some myself if I could afford them! – but I do wish media types would stop telling us that Miriam is some sort of superwoman for “juggling” career and parenthood, when in fact most parents have a much tougher time of it.

  • I think you need to bear in mind that Lorraine Kelly has probably earnt more than Nick and Miriam put together for decades, so the conversation was in a bit of a bubble.

    David:”That comment translates directly” oh! There’s an actual dictionary of Allenese, is there? 😉

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