Watched the leader of the Liberal Democrats being interviewed on the Politics Show today. The BBC have covered the interview on a web page, focusing on a silly little story about someone overhearing him being rude about his colleagues on a mobile phone. What's news about that. Since it wouldn't be a surprise to learn that the Metropolitan Police listen in on all of his calls, I didn't think this story was worth any coverage at all.
But Nick Clegg's response to the question about whether the party is going to return the £2.4 million that was donated to it by Michael Brown was much more worthy of a web page, and much more interesting. Lets recap. Michael Brown came by his wealth dishonestly, and the donation came out of money fraudulently obtained. There's no suggestion that the Liberal Democrats did anything wrong. I'm prepared to accept that the requisite checks were made before accepting the donation. The very reasonable question that Jon Sopel put to Nick Clegg was whether the money was going to be paid back, now that it was known to have been fraudulently obtained. The Times here yesterday thinks it might have to be repaid.
Nick Clegg's opinion was that as long as the proper checks had been made (at least what is required by the Electoral Commission) the money can be kept. By this reasoning, it would be OK if a donation came from a Mr R Biggs, on the grounds that the youngster in charge of the receiving office was too young to have heard of how Ronnie came by his loot. I thought Clegg, who usually tries to present himself as an occupant of moral high ground looked thoroughly discomforted to me. This looked a much bigger story than a bit of tittle-tattle on the mobile.