...a blog by Richard Flowers

Friday, January 11, 2008

Day 2564: Mr Clogg's First Day


Well, obviously Mr Clogg's first day was AGES ago now, and I was THERE – though we don't mention that now! And he's done LOADS of things since then, DRIVING THE AGENDA on subjects as diverse I.D.iot cards and Kenya.

But it would be unfair NOT to mention his debut at Prime Monster's Questionable Time.

I suspect that, for Mr Clogg, this was one of those less agreeable chores, like visiting an elderly, infirm relative who you don't know very well but who keeps on insisting on treating you as though you were five.

And speaking of Mr Frown, the Prime Monster welcomed Mr Clogg to his new job (with only a BIT of prompting from Mr Balloon), and said that there was always an open door for him:

"It's, uhh, the one hidden under the rug in my, uhh, study with the, uhh, spikes underneath," he inexplicably forgot to add.

Of course, Mr Frown's generosity to the leader of the "Liberal" Party – he DOES still seem incapable of saying the word "Democrats"; I wonder what he shall call the next President of Americaland? "Master," probably – his generosity, though, is quite telling, particularly when he obviously cannot bear to look at the Leader of the Opposition. Which is odd when you consider how much they have in common.

Mr Balloon too got in there with the LOVEBOMBING, though his QUIP that Mr Clogg is already moving away from him will have been MYSTIFYING to anyone not physically IN the Conservatory Leader's arcane club. So pretty typical for Mr Balloon's gags, then.

In fact, of course, Mr Clogg is merely sitting in the MIDDLE of the Liberal Democrats, the way that Mr Frown and Mr Balloon sit in the MIDDLE of their OWN front benches.

Mr Balloon's FIRST question was OBVIOUSLY a spoiler, hitting on I.D.iot cards – a Liberal Democrat HOT TOPIC and one that Mr Clogg has made central to this year's political agenda.
Sadly it was "Not Natural Tory Territory" and even Mr Frown noticed that Mr Balloon couldn't keep it up for his whole six questions.

As my Daddy Alex points out, Mr Balloon is increasingly likely to waste his questions by spluttering on for too long, trying to cover too many subjects, and generally being just too HYSTERICAL to be believed. According to Mr Balloon everything is in CRISIS and in imminent danger of ANARCHY and DESTRUCTION. It's not just the danger of being the little boy who cried "Wolf!"; if he gets much more worked up, he's going to POP something.

But Mr Balloon was OFF TARGET in more ways than one. He was WRONG too to guess that Mr Clogg would pick such an OBVIOUS target as the Prime Monster's plainly self-destructing I.D.iot cards scheme.

In contrast to the Etonian Punch and Judy Show, we had a sober, unflustered "bread and butter" performance from Mr Clogg, picking up on an issue that is topical and important to many people watching but NOT one typical chosen to make Liberal Democrats feel warm and fuzzy – it's the start of doing those things "outside of the Party's comfort zone".

Many people have also remarked upon Mr Steve Webb who popped in with a FOLLOW-UP question to Mr Clogg's pair. Watching on the telly, I also noticed the green jacket of Ms Susan Kramer-vs-Kramer bobbing up and down to attract the Speaker's glass eye. And, more importantly, almost no one else. I think that this DOES show a new STRATEGIC approach to PMQs from the Liberal Democrats. Acting as a TEAM, we can get three or even four questions "ON TOPIC" to the PM, then we stand a much improved chance of breaking through to the NEWS AGENDA. Which is good. PMQs is currently a pantomime, but if we behave seriously, and treat it seriously, then people will take us seriously.

And the response from the media and commentators was generally POSITIVE – and by that I include the Conservatory Trolls on who did their best to dismiss him. If he'd done BADLY you can BET that they would have made much hay of it; clearly they were left with literally nothing as all they could say.

You cannot be spectacular all the time. People at home just don't have the ENERGY for watching that. But you can be good, honest, hard-working and in touch with what the issues that concern your constituents are. Start as you mean to go on, Mr Clogg.

1 comment:

youngdegsy said...

Indeed, Millennium. Except that
's efforts to take the party out of its COMFORT ZONE also involve free personal care only for SOME people, and very much getting the State out of the business of providing public SERVICES. This is not very fluffy at all.