Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Oh Come Off It Chris!

Not satisfied with slurring Nick Clegg by claiming he supports vouchers in education when he doesn't and using Chris Clarke to branch Nick a Tory (quickly withdrawn once challenged but those comments should never have appeared in the first place) we saw yesterday yet another dubious claim from the Huhne camp. This time Chris claimed to be the first through the 1000 barrier.

Oh really? So why has the Clegg campaign already got 1500 supporters and rising?

I recognise that Chris is a good economist and has many admirable strengths but does he have to be economical with the truth as well?


Robin Young said...

Funny, the Clegg website (when you find it - it does not come up on a Google search) does not have anything like 1,000 names. Indeed it does not even have 1,000. Huhne's (which does come out immediately and top of the list on Google) has well over 1,000. Still, Nick comes recommended by The Spectator, the Daily Telegraph, the Sunday Times, Iain Dale.... so he's obviously just the Cameron-clone sort of bloke to hold onto our formerly Tory-held marginals in the south. Or won't charm and charisma suffice when it comes to the test, anymore than a "safe pair of hands" did?

Robin Young said...

Sorry - I mistyped. Should read that the Clegg website does not have anything like 1,500 names - indeed does not have 1,000.

Daniel Bowen said...

Toby, give everyone a break and quit the trolling.

Chris has 1,000 named supporters who are happy to have their names listed on the website.

While Nick has got the testimonials - a good move that - the numbers of supporters don't come near to 1,000. Perhaps they are not people who have agreed to be published as supporters?

Either way, your accusations remind me of the sort of thing my local Labour lot get up to. Which doesn't reflect well.

Toby Philpott said...


My "accusations" are based on facts. Chris has tried to paint Nick as pro-vouchers. The Clarke comments were published and then withdraw only after a fuss was kicked up and then there is the claim.

As for accusing me of trolling my view is that I could have gone in harder at times but have not. I just do not like the negative drift of the Huhne campaign.

Jo Hayes said...

It is not negative. And on examination, I think Huhne's claims are accurate and yours aren't.

In the first place, as others have commented, Huhne's list is of those who have either signed nominations or given permission for their names to be used. Clegg's list of published names is much shorter.

On the vouchers point, on 29 October 97 Rachel Sylvester of the Telegraph wrote: "Parents should, he argues, be given a voucher for their children's education - which would be worth more for poor pupils - although unlike some of his colleagues he says he is "not yet persuaded" that the voucher should be useable in private, as well as state, schools." This seems to be Clegg's variant of the Pupil Premium policy, devised by Baroness Barker's policy working group, endorsed by the FPC and conference and now party policy. The official policy would give extra money to schools - not parents - for each pupil from a deprived background. Unless Sylvester is fabricating it looks as if Clegg is in favour of vouchers so what is your complaint?

Toby Philpott said...

Jo, you are being selective. Paul Tyler has already criticised you on your blog for making out that somehow the Daily Telegraph is objective and accurate on Lib Dem views.

Let's look at the undistorted views of the man himself:

Look, no vouchers! In fact, Nick is arguing strongly that educational finance should follow pupils NOT be in the hand of parents.

Furthermore this is Nick's Pupil Premium stance in his own words (all of this, if you could be bothered, is available from his website):

"But we must do much more to support those children who are effectively struggling along on their own.

"I want to create an education funding system where the money ‘follows the child’, but where significantly more money follows the most deprived children. This isn’t a “voucher” system, by any stretch of the imagination. It will pour much needed extra money into our state schools – not take money away.

"We can pay for it by taking people on higher earnings out of means tested benefits and putting the money where it’s really needed: in our schools.

"It will mean funding for the poorest state school pupils rise to private school levels, not one day, but straight away. I’ve seen at first hand schools in the Netherlands where, thanks to this sort of “pupil premium”, the most challenging schools have classes half the size of those in affluent areas. That’s exactly the kind of system we need".

My complaint stands.

I've looked at your blog and you seem to be spinning too hard.

rob said...

Toby, what facts do you have to support your original accusation?

Chris very clearly has over 1,000 supporters listed on his site...I know I counted them!

But when I tried to do the same thing on Nick's site, it is near impossible and at my best estimation, there are probably only a few hundred. Can you explain this?

Toby Philpott said...

Chris claimed that he was first across the 1000 mark. The Clegg campaign has press released claims of support over 1500 which, unless there has been a sudden surge of over 500 in one day (unlikely) that Nick got there first.

My understanding is that the Clegg campaign is struggling to get everyone up on the website as, to ensure that there is no "Clarkegate" they are checking all the endorsements before they are posted.