You can press the freeze button on The Andrew Marr Show and look at Nick Clegg for as long as you like. Nothing more comes through from prolonged study. He's a very nice-looking young man. We may not enjoy that, we the bottle-and-battle-scarred, but there's no getting away from the fact he is fresh as paint, easy on the eye and pleasant to listen to when you let the pause button go.
Gordon's a survivor of the Somme, Cameron's a hero of Monte Cassino, and Clegg a Top Gun pilot. He's got a jump-jet. He soars over problems, he drops into an argument and hops off again. It's easy, sorting out "nonsense".
His performances have indeed been superb, for a Liberal Democrat. But now the questions have got sharper, the answers are getting harder. One thing will become clear that, for all his anti-politics, he is of their faith. He is a politician. Obviously.
Clarity, honesty, transp... you know the routine.
But when he's asked which party he'll support in a hung parliament – he prevaricates. During the campaign he said he'd deal with the party who had most support – but wouldn't say whether that was in terms of seats or votes.
Over the weekend it was dug out of him that losing the popular vote would disqualify Gordon Brown from office.
But when Marr asked about this yesterday, there were three answers. "What I meant was," Clegg started at the first time of asking. And at the second, "You're confusing two things", while at the third attempt, he agreed. "Absolutely," he said. If the Labour party got fewer votes it would not have a right to govern.
Was that a mistake? It certainly surprised a senior member of the Liberal Democrat command I mentioned it to later. "Surely he said that he wouldn't support Gordon if Labour got fewer votes?" Nope, he wouldn't support the Labour Party. "I'll have to go and watch it," the Liberal Democrat said.
Maybe it was a mistake. Because then Marr asked what he, Clegg, would do if Labour changed the leader after the election? He didn't say: "I repeat, if the party lost the popular vote, I wouldn't keep it in office." He said instead: "Here we get into the 'what-if' territory that I find very difficult".
And he went back to earlier ideas of collaborating with the party that would deliver Liberal Democrat manifesto commitments. But he couldn't do that with Labour polling fewer votes than the Tories because he ruled it out.
He'll find a way round it. And we'll have a new name for saying one thing and doing another: Clegg dancing.Reuse content