Why Clarke must lose

I don't much like this government. I don't like Blair, and I don't like Brown. Their centralising, high-spending, high-taxing, interventionist policies are damaging the economy and the nation.

But set against the whole context of nasty statist politicians, they're not exceptionally bad. They get some stuff right - like this from Gordon Brown.

Somehow I can't see Ken Clarke making that speech. And that's his problem. For all his cuddly image and centrist appeal, if it comes down to an election between Gordon Brown and Ken Clarke, I think I'd prefer Brown. It's kind of a "hanging or electrocution" type question, but there it is.

The trouble with ambiguity is that people suspect the worst. If the Tory party campaigns on a platform of "we want to cut spending but we're not going to", voters who don't want cuts will expect to get them, and voters who do, won't. Everybody will be put off.