I was Charles Kennedy’s stunt double

I wanted to be Vince Cable really, but I got into it after a while. At times I even caught myself attempting the accent. Other than my impersonation of a gingery Scotsman, today’s run-through at the Beeb alongside Iain Dale and Luke Akehurst (a pair of total pussycats! Can’t imagine what all the fuss is about) for the election programme was chiefly remarkable for three things:

First, THE TABLE! THE TABLE! THE BIG RED ROUND GLASS TABLE THEY HAVE ON NEWSNIGHT AND STUFF, I SAT AT IT, YEEEEAH! It’s got all smears and scratches on it. The floor’s a bit grubby as well.

Second was David Dimbleby pretending for interview purposes not to know that Lib Dem tax policy involves cutting the basic rate and raising the personal allowance, bless his specs. I always thought the media really were wilfully ignorant about us, but apparently they just pretend to be and frame their whole line of questioning accordingly. That’s all right then.

Thirdly, and despite number two, we’re going to look good on tv. That’s because our party talking head, as you will have gathered, is Charles Kennedy (I don’t impersonate him for the fun of it, you know, and certainly never in my own time). The Tories have George Osbourne. Labour has Tessa Jowell. And never has the phrase “enough said” been more apposite than it is now about to appear, fitted like a silencer onto the end of this paragraph. Enough said.

But more important than any of that was the incidental revelation of the meedja’s expectations for us. I gather, from reading between the (great big thick) lines, that if the Lib Dems attract much less than 30% of the vote tomorrow there will be cause for much pundit headshakery over the future of Nick Clegg (who, you know, once did it with some ladies too!)

Now, given that Lib Dem commenters themselves over at LDV are generally predicting in the range 22-26% (i.e., a modest to good advance on where we are in the polls), one can’t help feeling there’s a degree of, ah, nobbling going on here. The Tories, of course, need to advance 2-3% on their current polling position to look like serious election winners (arithmetically if not intellectually). Essentially the Beeb’s position tomorrow, so it appeared to me from today, will be that anything less than an advance of 10% on where the Lib Dems are in the polls can merrily be interpreted as abject failure. Good to know where you stand, I suppose.

Yeah, well, their leader did Do It With Ladies…

Maniacally bitter humour notwithstanding, may I remind you that YOUR REPUBLIC NEEDS YOU tomorrow night, loyal citizens! results! early indicators! rumours! shocks! tears! laughter! speculation! bar charts! wild guesses! songs! poems! prose contributions! photographs of amusingly shaped vegetables that look like Boris and Ken! – all are considered for publication. Email me, facebook me (details right) or comment below or at LDV. For now, Good Night And Good Luck.


  1. “I always thought the media really were wilfully ignorant about us, but apparently they just pretend to be and frame their whole line of questioning accordingly.”

    That’s because everyone else is pig ignorant about the Lib Dems and the media want to make sure it stays that way. Don’t want any silly third parties spoiling their nice two horse FPTP race.

    Have a happy Boris on Friday, and for the next four years. At least I’m at a safe enough distance to point and laugh.

  2. ‘Fitted like a silencer onto the end of this paragraph’ is a great line, btw.

    More to the point, I suspect that the reason why whole sections of society (i.e. two or three members of the commentariat) spend so much time thinking about sex and Nick Clegg may have something to do with the fact that, unlike the leaders of the other parties, Clegg’s neither creepy nor repulsively smug, and in fact by politicians’ standards verges on ‘attractive’.

    (I write this as a Tory, although for the avoidance of doubt, I am not one of the 30. Yet, anyway.)

    Good luck tonight.

  3. Gah, sat in a committee room. Playing with my EARS and photocopying “knocking up” slips. (I’ve taken Nick’s target of 30 rather to heart.)

  4. “songs! poems! prose contributions!”

    Don’t tempt me, Mortimer.

    With regards to the meeja and us, I should point out that Mr Robinson was very stern with a “the LDs do matter” closing point to an election report of his the other day; and I have yet to see a Mayoral feature that doesn’t include Brian. Then again, the obsession with ‘less than thirty’ is getting beyong a joke.

  5. dearest mortimer best of luck on the beeb ce soir – will be staying up late to catch first televisual glimpse of future party leader. might even be voting slightly your way – tho not mayorally- travesty that the whole thing is. lots of love

  6. Break a leg, tonight, Alix. And don’t forget your own advice from CiF the other day: if it’s a stupid question, say so. I’m sure you’ll be great.

    @Julian H: Of course the beeb have been alright to us lately – they are bound by law to do so.

    Cynical, moi?

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