The Sketch: How many would vote for an amalgam of all three?

Share

The young man I found myself sitting near on the Tube looked nervous, agitated, almost frightened. Was he lost? Was he a fare-dodger? Was he something more sinister? I noticed the glossy yellow leaflets he was fiddling with. I relaxed. He was a Lib Dem. He, like me, had just emerged from the leadership hustings. He, like me, was confused.

There was a lot to be perplexed about. When you hear people yelling "You're a racist" for seven minutes at Simon Hughes you know you've entered an unlikely sort of world. Yet a reassuring one. For the two hecklers who denounced Mr Hughes were not dealt with as was Walter Wolfgang, roughed up and charged under the Prevention of Terrorism Act for shouting "rubbish" at Jack Straw at the Labour conference. The Lib Dem "bouncers" stood next to the hecklers and, well, whispered at them, presumably anxious to avoid any ironic repetition of Mr Wolfgang's treatment. Then the assembled liberals booed at them (politely enough) and eventually, with not a finger laid on anyone, the hecklers left. What a nice, civilised party the Liberal Democrats are, after all. If only they'd been so gentle when they ejected Charles Kennedy.

Mr Hughes too, in his nice way, did his best to add to the confusion. Now I know Charles Clarke's bad, but did Mr Hughes really say that we seemed to be "hurtling towards dictatorship"? He did. Did he really tell us that he hadn't lied about his private life? He did. Did he inform us earnestly that the young were "our future"? 'Fraid so.

It was still a passionate performance, hurtling towards sanity at times. How many Liberal Democrats, I wondered, would like to vote for an amalgam of the three men standing before them? They need that evangelism of Hughes, "fired up and ready to lead" as he says. It would be lovely, too, to be cloaked in Sir Ming's exquisitely tailored authority. (An authoritative pink tie, statesmanlike cutaway collar and credible navy blue suit were modelled yesterday.) And who wouldn't just kill for the intellect of Chris Huhne, who even thinks, much to the obvious irritation of Sir Ming, that he knows as much as Sir Ming does about stuff like Iraq and Nato! Sir Ming had to tell Mr Huhne at one point that he was "rupturing Nato", although it looked rather more as though he was rupturing Sir Ming's vanity. Something tells me these two "colleagues" hate each other's guts.

Mr Huhne understands economics and can toss words such as "Croslandite" and "marketisation" casually around. However, if he wants to distract the British people from Hotel Babylon, he'll have to stop doing that.

I wouldn't know who to pick. Would brains or experience or passion be best at dissolving the nightmare of empty whisky bottles, gay chat lines and bizarre sex acts "too revolting to describe"? It's a perplexing choice.

React Now

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Business Analyst Consultant (Financial Services)

£60000 - £75000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Business Analyst Consultant (Fina...

Systems Administrator - Linux / Unix / Windows / TCP/IP / SAN

£60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A leading provider in investment managemen...

AVS, JVS Openlink Endur Developer

£600 - £700 per day: Harrington Starr: AVS, JVS Openlink Endur Developer JVS, ...

E-Commerce Developer

£45000 - £60000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Exciting opp...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Letter from the Political Editor: Phone and data laws to be passed in haste

Andrew Grice
The first lesson of today is... don't treat women unequally?  

Yvette Cooper is right: The classroom is the best place to start teaching men about feminism

Chris Maume
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

Hollywood targets Asian audiences

The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial