Readers of this site know that I have always thought Clegg would win, and never thought it made much difference whether he or Huhne did. They both believe in massive transfers of power to the EU, and both want to deny us the promised referendum on the constitutional treaty.
Mr Clegg should be given no honeymoon, as his leadership begins by denying the referendum his party promised in the last election. He and his party misled the public, and he cannot claim to be a new honest face when his first important deed will be to instruct Lib Dem MPs to vote against our referendum amendment to the European Treaty Bill. His silly rejoinder that he wants an In-Out referendum just increases people’s cycnicism about politics, as Labour has clearly ruled such a vote out, and never promsied one of those in the first place. We should expect rebels of conscience on the Labour side over a Treaty referendum, but they are not in the same embarrassing position over an In-Out vote.
Mr Clegg’s very poor margin of victory will mean he has to get on with Mr Huhne, and will doutbless tack a little more to the "left" or bigger state side of the argument, as that is clearly what his party membership wants. Mr Clegg has no decisive mandate for change, and will need to be careful. Lib Dems turn nasty if they do not win by-elections. Mr Clegg will have to watch his back if the third party squeeze continues.