Diary: Rennard's a fuss about nothing, says Lib Dem who came in from the cold
Jasper Gerard, who was once a rising star on the Sunday Times with excellent contacts among the Liberal Democrats, wrote an entire book about how Nick Clegg captured the party leadership, and thought he had scored a success when the Daily Mail paid a handsome price of the serialisation rights.
What he did not foresee was that Mail scribes would comb the book for everything bad they could find about Clegg or his party, omitting everything else. He was shocked. He feared that his relationship with the party would be ruptured. Bridges have since been mended. Gerard is now a prospective Lib Dem parliamentary candidate, and he went on the World at One yesterday to belittle the Lord Rennard affair as a big fuss about very little. "It was only touching a woman's knee, it's hardly Jimmy Savile," he complained.
That echoed similar remarks by the Lib Dem peer, Tony Greaves. "It is hardly an offence for one adult person to make fairly mild sexual advances to another," he said. If that is how they think, it's no wonder that the women involved felt they would never get the Lib Dem establishment to take their complaints seriously.
The 12 golden rules that didn't reach the leader
Olly Grender knows more probably than any other Lib Dem about handling a media storm, having worked for Paddy Ashdown when the party's fortunes were at their nadir, and done a stint in Downing Street. She distilled her wisdom into an article for the New Statesman headed "My 12 Golden Rules in a Crisis."
This invites the question of how many of the 'golden rules' Nick Clegg observed in handling the Rennard fire storm.
Instead of running through the lot, I will go straight to Rule 6, "the most important rule of all" according to Grender – "establish what the truth is, decide how it will be told." Did Clegg do that? He did not.
Did he "establish a clear decision making operation", as per Rule 1? No.
Did he, as per Rule 8, do "the opposite of what your instincts tell you, so be more open and accessible" – by disappearing to Amsterdam yesterday? I think not.
Did he follow Rule 3 – "get good independent advice both PR and legal"? No.
Or Rule 12 – "Say sorry. Say it quickly and keep saying it"? No.
Is there one rule he can definitely be said to have followed? Sorry, no.
Musical chairs at City Hall
Strange shenanigans at the London Assembly yesterday. Boris Johnson was there, expecting to face two hours of questions about his budget, when opposition members spotted an empty chair where the deputy mayor, Victoria Borwick, ought to be.
Her absence meant they had the majority needed to throw the budget out, so they sent the Mayor away, but before they could vote, Ms Borwick hurried in, foiling their plans.
Boris has now de-nounced Assembly members as "great supine protoplasmic invertebrate jellies".
- 1 Boston Marathon runner's search for mystery man she kissed ends with letter from his wife
- 3 Frankie Boyle on Scottish independence: 'In the Interests of Unity, F**k Off'
- 4 How to gain confidence and maximise your sexual potential
- 5 Chinese theme park sets up 'death simulator' where volunteers can experience being cremated
Saudi Arabia's King Salman sacks senior aide for 'slapping' a journalist behind him live on TV
Boston Marathon runner's search for mystery man she kissed ends with letter from his wife
Frankie Boyle on Scottish independence: 'In the Interests of Unity, F**k Off'
Italian police 'reveal' what Jesus looked like as a young boy
Florida couple forced to register as sex offenders for having sex on public beach
In defence of liberal democracy
General Election 2015: Post-election 'shambles' looms as 70 per cent of voters say SNP 'should not be able to veto UK government policies'
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
General election live: SNP suspends two members for disrupting Labour rally
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils
£36000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, Stock...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join one of...
£18000 - £20000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events busi...