Simon Carr:

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

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

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Read Next
David Cameron faces the press as he arrives in Brussels for the EU leaders summit on Thursday reuters  

On the Tusk of a dilemma: Cameron's latest EU renegotiation foe

Andrew Grice
John Profumo and his wife Valerie Robson in 1959  

Stephen Ward’s trial was disgraceful. There can be no justification for it

Geoffrey Robertson QC
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas