19 December 2007

Good initial signs from "The Clegg"... sort of

Well, Nick Clegg won the Lib Dems leadership election - by a much narrower margin than the pundits expected - but as very few of the pundits are (I imagine) Liberal Democrat party members, what the hell would they know?

Clegg has the obvious drawback of looking like of a Dave Cameron clone, but having met him in person (something I can't say for Dave) he seems a reasonably nice guy. Early omens were good this morning when, on the ludicrously named "Radio 5 Live"(what, so no other radio station has live shows, then?) Clegg said he didn't believe in God. Finally a sane man at the top... pass the copy of Richard Dawkins's The God Delusion many of you probably received for Christmas last year (oh, the irony).

(Clegg then balanced his ticket somewhat by pointing out his wife was Catholic and his kids were being brought up Catholic. See, this is how the virus perpetuates itself... the Church insists on indoctrinating the kids before they are too old to know better. I'm sure we'd still get some religious nutters even if faith schools were abolished - but probably a lot less of them.)

Clegg has also brought in Brian Eno, of all people, as an adviser on "how to reach out beyond Westminster to people who don't get a say in politics." This could lead to some very interesting possibilities, e.g.:

  • keynote speeches at the next Lib Dem conference being filtered through Eno's synthesiser array to give the general effect of whalesong, or insects walking on formica.
  • policy being chosen on the basis of the 'Oblique Strategies' card deck.
All in all, then, some positive potential for 'Cleggie' and maybe there is also the opportunity for a remake of Last of the Summer Wine (maybe with Ming Campbell as 'Foggy')... but an ominous note was struck when Clegg's first policy idea on education - raising state school expenditure per pupil to the level of private schools - is a direct rip from Gordon Brown. We'll have to watch this space to see how it develops.

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