In the three debates Mr Clegg made much of the need for fairness. I agree.
In British General Elections fairness is at the heart of the rules and the aproach of the main broadcasters. That is why all MPs lose their jobs at the start of the Election proper, why no former MP is allowed to go around claiming to be an MP, and why all seeking election become candidates. Correctly ex MPs are banned from using Parliamentary facilities, from adopting the logo or using Commons notepaper, as that would give an unfair advantage over the other candidates.
Mr Clegg must know this, yet throughout the 3 debates he referred to himself as an MP, talked of his MP’s salary and behaved as if the rule did not exist.
Broadcasters have a rule that they must refer to all the candidates in an election if interviewing one or more of the candidates, and must seek to provide balanced coverage. Anyone of us invited on to put our party’s national case on national media knows that we should not mention our own campaign by naming our own constituency or referring to its special issues, as that would be seeking advantage not open to the other people seeking election in the same place. Yet Mr Clegg regularly referred to his home area of Sheffield.
Mr Brown and Mr Cameron did not refer to themselves as MPs and did not mention the names of the seats they are contesting.
Some may think this a minor quibble or a mere detail. I think it shows a cavalier approach to the fairness that is central to our elections.
Mr Clegg also spoke much of honesty. Yet he repeatedly referred to a tax cut he wished to offer us all, without fairly pointing out that all of this tax cut had to be recouped by tax increases, and without spelling out how all this money would be raised. He claimed the Lib Dems had set out detailed and costed plans to cut the deficit, yet the IFS study stated that around three quarters of the deficit reduction needed was not covered in the Lib Dem package.
If you wish to claim truth and fairness as uniquely your own, you need to live the brand.
Promoted by Christine Hill on behalf of John Redwood, both of 30 Rose Street Wokingham RG40 1XU