Simon Carr:

The Sketch: Contender Chris must give more Bing Crosby and less Noel Coward

Share
Related Topics

And when it came to the Alternative Vote campaign – "I for one thought the vilification of Nick Clegg was appalling," Chris Huhne declared roundly to conference. "There was no briefing about his sanity or sexuality. It was half-hearted, uninspired, and totally lacking in real venom. Worse than appalling, incompetent! You just can't trust the Tories to do anything right!" He didn't quite put the second part exactly like that. Not in quite those words. I'm not sure he'd ever take us so deeply into his confidence.

He has got a nice voice though. There's a caressing lower register as it smoothes itself round your sceptical defences. It goes, as Bing Crosby once said dropping half an octave, "right down there where the money is". The higher pitch where he goes for intensity, to show he really means what he's saying – it's a bit Noel Coward up there. He's better off down in the comforting level where he can tempt an audience to believe he knows for a fact that what he says is the case.

But what he says looks very different from how it sounds. When you see it in print – for example "cutting carbon is essential to the survival of mankind as a species" – you do think that a man who can believe that can believe anything. Nonetheless, he is a contender to lead the Lib Dems into a Clegg-free future. He cleverly suggests his department is going to engineer a recovery with a "green industrial revolution" and that we'll go from "fossil fuel smokestack to low carbon cashback in a generation". That didn't get the laugh it deserved.

And maybe that was because people were taking it seriously. Chris Huhne was telling us he has the economic vision to lead us out of this mess. And the political position as well. "We must be doing something right," he said, "or something left." They laughed at that, and applauded.

Nick Clegg wouldn't have laughed or applauded. He would have thought: "See if you can run the Lib Dems from a prison cell, mate." That's not impossible of course. They do have free mobile phones in prisons now.

Huhne came off the stage, touched his new partner on the arm, and looked around a little hesitantly for a way out. He opened an Exit door and wandered into the darkness.





React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sustainability Manager

Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Scheme Manager (BREEAM)...

Graduate Sustainability Professional

Flexible, depending on experience: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: T...

Programme Director - Conduct Risk - London

£850 - £950 per day: Orgtel: Programme Director - Conduct Risk - Banking - £85...

Project Coordinator/Order Entry, SC Clear

£100 - £110 per day: Orgtel: Project Coordinator/Order Entry Hampshire

Day In a Page

Read Next
Former N-Dubz singer Tulisa Contostavlos gives a statement outside Southwark Crown Court after her trial  

It would be wrong to compare brave Tulisa’s ordeal with phone hacking. It’s much worse than that

Matthew Norman
The Big Society Network was assessed as  

What became of Cameron's Big Society Network?

Oliver Wright
Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn