Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Clegg wipes the floor with Huhne on Newsnight?

I read Paul's piece before watching Newsnight this morning. It reminded me of this famous picture, here demonstrating that even small differences to that picture can influence perception.
Actually, I didn't think either of them wiped the floor with the other. Both came across well (note Daddy Alex!) and I thought Chris handled the Calamity Clegg stuff well and I trust has now drawn a line under the debacle. But my doubts about Chris have not evaporated.
I thought Paxman's use of the one word answer was great and demonstrated what I have been trying to say, particularly on Trident, in 1000 words, in one! (Actually I have to admit, my motto has always been why use one word when 100 will do!)
So perception wise. I thought Nick was very strong, he demonstrated his aversion to obfuscation and his preparedness to stand up and be counted on issues like immigration. I wasn't so convinced by Chris's answer on that. Chris came across a lot better, prepared to be contrite, more engaging and forceful than I have seen him before.
Two problems as I see it for Chris, and I will say this as Jack-yl-ly as I possibly can - Chris made much of his communication skills (which were clearly evident in his ability to communicate with the political intelligentsia) but I am still not convinced he pushes the right buttons for the wider electorate - will they know what he is chatting about, will he have the hooks to engage them - will it be, yeah that Chris Huhne's alright, or quizzical eyes heavenwards as he loses them mid sentence? He has certainly done a lot of work on sounding more passionate and is varying his voice tone well, just needs to get the content sharper and more clearly articulated in a way that anyone can understand.
The other issue I had with him was his reference to the real world. I do get rather p...d off with people from industry who regard their experience as "the real world". Frankly I think those of us who have spent most of our working lives working in hard pressed diverse communities know a lot more about the real world and the issues that impact upon people's lives than the elite of the city and Fleet Street where the bubble is even more impenetrable than Westminster! And, given my current role and contact with the great and the good of the private sector my views have been thoroughly reinforced. Yes, Chris brings a particular perspective on economics which is very helpful, but it is so one dimensional. Maybe he is heir to Cable at some point?
But, I hope last night's performances by both men will do something towards reparing some of the damage done on Sunday and I am reassured that both will be more than capable of taking on Paxman if and when the need arises.


RobC said...

Paxman was quite gentle on them by his standards. Perhaps the fact the Child Benefit missing data fiasco has taken up some of the time intended for Chris and Nick meant he couldn't lay into them too much.

I agree with you about plain English and actually I think Huhne has improved in this regard during the course of the campaign. Nick can waffle and dither as well and if he can avoid this as he did most of the time last night, possibly due to circumstances, then I agree he does come across clearly and well to the viewing public.

The last Radical said...

I think when Chris talks anbout the real world, he means the same as you ie. not the Westminster bubble.

There is a tendency now for some to follow the career path of:
graduate/intern/MP's assistant/PPC
Nothing wrong with that. But when in their lives do they ever engage with the general public?
Those of us who work, travel by public transport, represent people as Councillors etc. have a much better idea of how ordinary people feel than MPs who spend all week in Westminster, then go from one busy engagement to another when back in the constituency.