Simon Carr:

The Sketch: He's the Eurocrat son of a banker, so how can he play the outsider?

Share
Related Topics

Yesterday, at The Tories' morning press conference... there wasn't a Tory press conference yesterday. This is so clever they'll be talking about it in a decade. What were the Conservatives doing, withdrawing from the campaign at a moment of existential threat? "Ah," a wise strategist will say (probably Oliver Letwin, on the brink of retirement), "It's too early to tell."

Perhaps they thought a press conference every day would look anxious. Too eager for attention. Better just to lie low and let Clegg blow over. Let the Big Society sink in, settle into people's minds. People don't like to be nagged and chivvied.

The danger is that their party is entering the ranks of the Great Ignored because out there, the country is "Cleggulating". This wild man is going to clean up politics and rebuild the economy on an entirely new model – and this time it's sustainable! It's a new day, is it not? The first of seven, there is great work ahead.

Quite a trick, that, for a public school Eurocrat from a banking family to present himself as a hairy outsider.

Maybe it was cheating, but the Liberals did have a press conference. And they'd worked up some good lines. British banks are four times bigger than the British economy – I hadn't heard that before. Change? Conservative? The clue is in the name. Labour and Conservative? A contest of mutual loathing.

This is the reward for being ignored by the media for so long. Even the old lines – if they are old lines – sound fresh.

Vince had a sparkling analogy about banks failing to supply credit. Imagine the privatised water companies had over-extended themselves, crashed and been bailed out with public money. And then, to rebuild their balance sheets... they stopped supplying water.

Clegg was still getting a relatively easy ride from the press conference. Andrew Neil – now looking like a Batman villain – asked him whether it was true he'd really spent all his time and energy "cleaning up politics" as claimed. Then he read out a list of expenses. They just stopped short of flying in a pet sturgeon by private jet to provide caviar for his children. But it turned out that Clegg had been very, very clear about this. He's going to give any profit back to the taxpayer. That really was new. He offered to let Neil into his house. Sensation! But by the end off his answer he'd taken another look and imagined what his wife would say. The invitation was withdrawn.

So. Is the "Cleggulatory" regime going to last? He has a good foreign affairs debate coming up because his lot was alone in opposing the Iraq war. And he alone wants to get out of Afghanistan. The country has been telling pollsters: "I agree with Nick."

He's also treating the poll surge pretty well, neither talking it up or down.

I wonder what the Tories have to say about that? Do we have to pay them to get the answer?

React Now

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

Urgently looking for Qualified Teachers and NQT's

£110 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Urgently looking for Quali...

Year 5 Teacher

£21000 - £32000 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: KS2 Teacher Would yo...

Teacher

£100 - £120 per day + key stage 1, key stage 2: Randstad Education Chelmsford:...

Data Analyst

£30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly reputable software house is looking ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Letter from the Assistant Editor: Domestic violence is no petty matter

Siobhan Norton
 

There’s nothing wrong with GM

Steve Connor
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried