Dear citizens, your help is required!

The Cleggster is going to be interviewed for the readers of Company Magazine this Tuesday, and your humble Head of State (as she clings for dear life onto the upper end of Company’s target age range) will be asking the questions. Cameron and Brown are going to be interviewed by their own respective bloggers.

I have a few ideas of my own and a few ideas from the magazine – but all suggestions for questions and areas to explore are most welcome. I’ll have about 20 to 30 minutes I think (which goes in a twinkling) and it would be nice to get a balance of serious and fun-without-being-dappy. So I reckon that’s no reality tv questions, but probably no great yawning discussion of electoral reform either. You know the sort of thing. Go on. Make my job easy.

All this reminds me of reading, about a year ago in some broadsheet or other, a disparaging reference to Nick Clegg’s perpetual enthusiasm for schlepping round the country and talking to people. This approach was construed by the writer as a failure, on the basis that Clegg still wasn’t leading the opinion polls despite having “had a chat” with just about everyone in Britain.

It’s easy to see why Clegg’s town hall meetings and frequent interviews with particular outlets (mumsnet, reddit, Attitude etc) might not be popular with the mainstream political media. When he’s off talking to people, answering questions and getting shouted at, be it in person, online, or in the pages of some non-political publication, he is bypassing the opinion formers and there’s very little they can do about it. They can’t even observe it fully for themselves. I can’t see the Guardian politics desk camping out in Rochdale of a wet Thursday evening.

What the broadsheet in question got wrong, of course, is the idea that he really has finished talking to everyone in Britain. He’s never going to be finished. It’s going to take an awful lot of nifty keyboard work and waiting around in draughty stations to compensate for the party’s lack of exposure in the mainstream media. I suspect this is one of those campaigning “techniques” that isn’t so much a technique as an experiment. We don’t know yet whether it works, whether it is possible to bypass the mainstream media and have that translate into a chunk more votes on a national scale. And unfortunately we won’t know it works until right up to the moment when it does.