Don’t make Nick Clegg angry. You wouldn’t like him when he’s angry.

25 Aug

As will no doubt you will see on the news this evening, Nick Clegg and Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie had an unfortunate meeting with a tin of blue paint; the blue, one can assume, being an aesthetic choice made by someone upset with the Coalition government.

What you won’t hear, however, is how Clegg reacted to it. Inside the Woodside Hall, a community hall in Maryhill, Glasgow, Mr Clegg addressed the party faithful with a new found vigour. Don’t get me wrong, Nick wasn’t angry, but he was visibly pissed off. Making light of the situation (as well as noting that Willie got most of the paint), Clegg proceeded to tear his detractors a new one. The tabloid narratives. The smears. The perceived bending-over-and-taking-it from Cameron. All these and more were dismissed with a new found focused anger, a confidence that is rarely seen in interviews and the House of Commons. Gone were the umms and aahs that so frequently punctuate responses to Andrew Marr; here stood a man who was going to get his point across and understood.

Now, it would be wrong of me to say what was said in the meeting, being a members only affair. Besides, what’s said in Maryhill stays in Maryhill, to coin a phrase. I will concede that there were differences of opinion in the crowd, and that the principle aim of Clegg’s visit was to gee up a pretty dispirited party, who saw huge losses in this years Scottish Parliamentary elections. And it worked. After an hour or so of questions ranging from party strategy, the nature of our relationship with the Conservative party, the philosophy of liberalism itself and the inevitable student fees question, Nick walked off to a thunderous round of applause. Oh yeah, and some old bloke tried to flog Clegg a book, or something.

Next, the Scottish leader Willie Rennie fielded some questions exclusively about the Scottish Parliament. Where Clegg was riled up, Rennie was full of an absurd amount of cheer and optimism for a party leader with only four other MSPs, again to much applause.

The question is, did the tin of paint hinder or boost Clegg? Well, there’s no way of knowing for sure, but if that was a demoralised Nick Clegg in private, I feel sorry for the poor sod who comes up against him at the top of his game…

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