Not long ago, Chris Huhne spoke to our local South Somerset Climate Action Group as well as Yeovil Liberal Democrats and I told him that I regretted not voting for him in the last leadership election. However, this is a new contest with a new candidate. Seeking selection as a Euro-candidate I attended two regional conferences addressed by both candidates. I have to disagree with Jonathan Calder. It was clear to me that Nick Clegg was by far the better communicator. No-one should underestimate the importance of this talent when the two candidates are so close in policy terms.
I disagree with Nick about Trident of course, but I am not very impressed by Chris' position. We debated the issue at our Spring Conference in March in Harrogate and I invited Chris then to support my amendment to get rid of Trident . We only lost that amendment by 40 votes. If he had supported us, we could have won. Also, he actually proposes replacing Trident by a minimum nuclear deterrent. This does not answer many of the objections to Trident, would still be very costly and probably against the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
I have also been unhappy about Chris' attacks on Nick. He has repeatedly suggested that Nick supports education vouchers knowing full well that he doesn't.
The crux of my judgement to vote for Nick is based on instinct, not mine but the candidates' instincts. In choosing a leader, I don't just look at policy differences, since as members of a democratic party we all get a say in policy. I ask myself, how will this person react to an unforeseen crisis ? Which way will he jump ? Chris usually arrives at the right conclusion by a careful rational analysis but I think he lacks that great eighteenth century quality - bottom. Nick seems to me to be Liberal by instinct, from top to bottom.