Review: Anger Management Episode 4 – Nick Clegg in conversation with Harriet Harman

The other day, I raised an eyebrow that Nick Clegg had so far only interviewed white men on his Anger Management podcast.

Yesterday, a fair few of my Christmases arrived together when a new episode had one of my favourite politicians, Harriet Harman in conversation with Nick. I was going to say that she was the first elected politician he’d had on, but then I remembered he’d had Farage who is pocketing a fortune as a part-time MEP. I haven’t quite had the spoons to listen to that one yet.

It was a good chat with a couple of newsworthy moments – particularly when he asked her if she was interested in becoming Speaker and she said she wasn’t going to talk about it because there wasn’t a vacancy. I’m reading that as a “yes” if there should be a vacancy, but I always have been an optimist.

I will remember this podcast mostly for its missed opportunities though. I just wish both of them hadn’t been quite so polite. I know it’s about anger so there’s almost an obligation to be reasonable, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a bit of fun.

I was willing Harriet (even though it was obviously pre-recorded and there was therefore no point) to ask Nick why he hadn’t put a woman in the Cabinet in 5 years as Deputy PM.

When Harriet talked about how she had not time for faux anger, if I’d have been Nick I’d have brought up a) the mockrage from Labour at every coalition cut when they would have made most of them themselves and b) that time Harriet let herself down by referring to Danny Alexander as a ginger rodent. Certainly she was quick to apologise at the time and then had the good grace to show up when the beer that was created after that was served in the House of Commons. It just might have been interesting to go through what goes through your head when you say something you shouldn’t. We all do it and it might have been interesting to discuss it well after the event in a calmer setting.

They covered the very binary divide in today’s politics. I just wish that they had explored the idea of electoral reform as something that could help with that. It isn’t a panacea as the situation in Scotland, where the political firmament tries to divide itself along nationalist/unionist lines, but there are elements of our politics in Scotland that are much more effective because of PR. At least we get the Holyrood parliament we ask for.  That can’t be said for voters at Westminster level.

I loved hearing about the issues that had motivated Harriet into politics – watching her mother trying to simultaneously cook her father’s breakfast and dinner while studying from a law book and swearing that her life would be different. She also tied up gender equality with race and LGBT equality. Too often these issues are seen as a zero sum game but in reality most of us who fight for one want to see the others have better representation too.

It was also interesting to hear Harriet’s thoughts on cross-party working particularly n the context of feminists turning up on the Tory benches, something that would have been unheard of when she first entered Parliament.

My favourite moment came when she was  asked who she would like to be stuck in a lift with. I so want someone to make that happen, stream it on the internet and provide us all with voluminous amounts of popcorn.

At one point, Harriet pretty much nailed Labour’s dilemma on Brexit – the mandate from the referendum vs the fact that Brexit will make us poorer. With 70% of Labour MPs representing Leave constituencies, could they vote against a deal that would make the people they represent worse off?

It’s a pity that nobody had come up with the notion of giving the people a final say on the deal so Nick could have suggested that to her as a solution…

They also talked about something called the Night of the Mustard Corduroys. I’m sure you had to be there, but it was all about the frantic efforts to come to an agreement over Leveson, progress which the current government has junked now that we’re no longer there.

I did enjoy listening to this one. I guess I just wish it had been a bit more challenging for both of them, in a good way. Listen to all the episodes here.



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

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  • Why would Harman be a better choice for Speaker than, say, Hoyle who has experience as a Deputy Speaker and has never served in Cabinet?

  • Richard Underhill 8th Jul '18 - 10:15am

    Tory Minister Gove, on the BBC1 Andrew Marr Show, today 8/7/2018, used Nick Clegg’s name as disliking the deal that the Tory cabinet has agreed after the Chequers awayday on Friday. Gove also mentioned Nigel Farage’s name in the same context but for opposite reason/s. Neither is an MP at the moment, neither is a party leader at the moment. Gove did not provide evidence of recent statements by either of them.
    Labour’s Brexit spokesman was interviewed on the record. He challenged the government to put the proposal to a vote in the Commons on Monday 16/7/2018. He made no mention of the personal views of the current Labour leader.

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