Monday, October 22, 2007

The food for thought continues...

I am still undecided on the leadership race. We have two excellent candidates declared at the moment. We really are fortunate. But making up my mind between them is difficult. You can't really put a fag paper between them on most criteria.

Thanks to the anonymous commenter who kindly pointed me in the direction of Nick Clegg's 2006 speech advocating a Great Repeal Act (Click below if you want to see it). I didn't originally see this speech, so it was rewarding to finally watch it. It is a superb speech, as many people have said. I notice that this is Clegg before he adopted the annoying lectern-free stalking and hand waving of David Cameron (which we saw in his Sheffield launch speech).

There is a fascinating video of the two candidates here on Newbury Today. It shows the two candidates talking directly to the camera outside the South Central regional conference last Saturday. They are remarkably direct performances with each candidate giving their "pitch". It's cut so you get bits of each candidate in turn to compare them. Nick Clegg speaks very passionately whereas Chris Huhne speaks quite softly and (almost) confidentially.

Chris Huhne is an excellent speaker and has a remarkably strong economics background. He also has considerable experience of business, journalism and parliaments. He does not have that same sharpness of communication skills which Clegg seems to have.

Nick Clegg also has experience of journalism and parliaments, but less of it. If I have one concern it is, Clegg's relative lack of experience in comparison to Huhne.

They are both undoubtedly innate liberals with lots of passion. The "Cameron copy" doesn't wash because Clegg is a liberal. Cameron isn't. If Clegg is a copy of anyone it is David Steel (leader at 38) or Jeremy Thorpe (leader at 38) or Charles Kennedy (leader at 40). All of those were youngish, with good communication skills when they became leaders.

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