Saturday 7 September 2013

And they’re off!

Nick Clegg has taken the unusual step of deciding to sum up in the debate on the economy motion at the Liberal Democrat conference in Glasgow next week, in which he will attempt to convince the party and country that the coalition’s economic policy has been a howling success and needs only minor tweaks. Or not as the case may be.

But who will draw the short straw of having to propose this nonsense? Liberator’s bookmakers suggest the following:
  • Duncan Hames: 2-1. Wide-eyed young colt, keen to impress. But he is Clegg’s PPS, so may not get a choice.
  • Stephen Gilbert: 6-1. Economic right-wing MP needing to raise his profile.
  • Jo Swinson: 100-30. Heavily promoted by Clegg; Not renowned for substance and moving this motion will hardly help in that cause.
  • Danny Alexander: 8-1. Do they actually want to win...?
  • Mike Thornton: 4-1. Still glowing from the spotlight of being a Liberal Democrat who got elected in 2013, but low profile since.
  • Lorely Burt: 8-1. Guaranteed to keep the sign language interpreters busy.
  • Stephen Williams: 16-1. But he would love to do it.
  • Shirley Williams: 20-1. Another abuse of her name in a motion would surely result in a suit for defamation of character by association with Clegg, after the debacle last year over the ‘Shirley Williams’ health motion.
  • Paddy Ashdown: 3-1. Would even Ashdown approve of the tactic of facing down bloody-minded activists in a debate, with a party to enthuse ahead of a general election? A speech would be enough, though.
  • Jeremy Browne: 12-1. Plausible after promoting Tory policies in the Home Office but, let’s face it, Jeremy Thorpe would be more likely to go down well at conference.
  • Tim Farron: 25-1. Believes in divine intervention, and might just get his wish.
  • A Leadership Programme Candidate Who Nobody Has Ever Heard Of: evens. Guaranteed to deliver any old rubbish he/she has been given with starry-eyed, uncritical zeal, exactly as trained to do in the programme.
  • Floella Benjamin: 15-1. Guaranteed wholesome fun.
  • Vince Cable: 1000-1.
Latest news:  A late entrant to the field - Steve Webb. 2-1. He thinks God made him do it. But he’s not the messiah, he’s a very naughty minister.

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