The three leaflets I have had from the Clegg campaign devote a lot of space to listing his backers, who are his main asset. This listing resembles a medieval procedure (called compurgation) whereby a defendant would get a dozen freemen to swear he was a good bloke, as distinct from dealing with whether the allegation was in fact true. They are largely the same group as only 19 months ago backed Ming Campbell, none more vehemently than Clegg himself (see e.g. Guardian 20 Jan 06). By last month their support had melted away.
The other feature of Clegg’s leaflets that struck me as a bit of a waste of space was his denunciation of the Japanese WW2 prisoner of war camps. Surely this is motherhood and apple pie stuff. Who – in any party – would disagree?
In one of the leaflets Lord Ashdown was quoted praising Nick Clegg’s intellect. He may be right, but this claim makes me wonder whether it is true that, as I have been told, Clegg’s university degree was a lower second - which after such an excellent school education seems a bit disappointing - and if so, what is the explanation. Exams aren’t everything, but they are something, and I would like to know. (Brown, Cameron and Huhne all have firsts.)