Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Why Clegg will wipe the floor with Brown and Cameron

Today was going to be a big day whether we liked it or not. The temptation for Nick may have been to try and go for the killer comment, the knock out blow, the hilarious put down. Instead he played it straight down the line. I have to confess to being a tad nervous for him, but even if he was nervous it didn't show. He has grown immeasurably in stature in the few short weeks, punctuated by Christmas, since he was elected. Those of us who met with him on the day he was elected saw that.

So, having the blessing of perpetual (silent) Sky News to watch while we wait for the lifts at work, I had to content myself with watching PMQs and attempting to lipread. But, before I got to hear Nick's questions, I got to see his body language. It was clear that he was in control but not "stiff", confident but not cocky, brimming with enthusiasm and energy, underpinned with the concern and compassion that clearly informs his politics.

As Nick himself has acknowledged, to expect him to be able to adopt PMQs and make it his own every week when the cards are stacked against the third party, is unrealistic. What is realistic is to expect him to go into the PMQ ring, fully prepared, anticipating the elephant traps, but acknowledging the limitations of what is a sorry excuse for an effective holding to account of the executive. Today he demonstrated that he has the potential to wipe the floor with Brown and Cameron. He can puncture Cameron's shallow vacuousness and expose Brown's bumbling ineptitude. His is a star on the rise, in the midst of burnt out meteorites and empty black holes! Who was it who said "Things can only get better"?!

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