Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Clegg's first outing

Nick Clegg had a very competent first outing at PMQs, although to be fair he could compete with neither Cameron's brilliant performance ("You were the future, once...") or Vince Cable's classic performances ("Stalin to Mr Bean"), although Cable's efforts were done with the freedom of being acting leader with no expectations.

I did think, however, that he made two slight erros - nothing major, but worth noting.

Firstly he spoke from the middle of the front row of LibDem MPs, rather than in the traditional corner seat nearest the dispatch box and Speaker. Although this meant he was surrounded by frontbench colleagues cheering and nodding furiously, it did look rather like he was dodging battle and was avoiding facing down the Tory and Labour heckles. He looked safe in his new seat and well guarded but didn't look like he had the drive to be sitting in any other seat.

Also his choice of subject was a little bizarre. Some people have said that Cameron stole his topic (ID cards) and he was forced to use his emergency questions. I'm not too sure about this. I think he wanted some in-depth and worthy questions to mark a difference between himself and the jokey style of Vince. Is this the LibDems missing the big issue or trying to agenda set themselves?

What I did think was more clever was the use of other LibDem MP to ask supplementary questions on the same topic. Clegg has to survive with fewer shots at the PM than Cameron and usually LibDem MPs ask worthy questions regarding constituency issues. This method means Brown could come under more sustained scrutiny from the LibDems.

So overall a mixed bag. Clegg is new and untested. We'll have to wait and see!

1 comment:

julianwhite said...

As a floating voter between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats (although mostly floating towards the Conservatives), what do you think (especially as a teacher) about Clegg's plans to let parents start schools?

I liked that idea personally, if the Liberal Democrats become a party which is economically liberal, in my view, they would be much more dangerous for the Conservatives.