I think Liberal Democrats have been in shock this weekend, trying to make sense of the shenanigans of the Brussels summit which have left us, at least temporarily, isolated in Europe.
On Friday, I just threw myself into frenzied spate of cleaning, tackling both behind the sofa and the rabbit hutch on the same day, simply as displacement activity so I didn't have to think of the ramifications of it all because I was so upset by it.
By yesterday, every time I thought of David Cameron, I couldn't get rid of the thought of him in his jammies singing "All by myself" like Bridget Jones does. And, frankly, Bridget doesn't quite think that being all by herself is quite how she wants to spend her life.
I didn't expect Nick to come out with all guns blazing and call Cameron for everything. It's just not his way. His focus will have been on how to retrieve the situation - and if he wants Cameron to listen to him, he has to moderate his language. I tweeted my way through the live broadcast, and the results are below, but the main points are:
- what happened on Friday is bad for Britain
- what David Cameron was asking for was modest and reasonable
- Britain's standing in the world depends on us being seen as a leader within the EU
- there is no case for a referendum on Europe
- we must take opportunities to exert UK influence in coming months
- "I will fight for UK long term interests so jobs and growth not threatened"
I completely stuffed up the reporting of one quote from him, so I'll do it properly here. While he showed understanding for David Cameron's position, "I'm not under the same constraints from my parliamentary party as he is," he had a right go a the Eurosceptics:
Eurosceptics are spectacularly misguided. Nothing bulldog about Britain hovering in mid Atlantic, isolated and not taken seriously
I think Nick got the tone absolutely right this morning - calm, reasonable, and with an attitude of "let's get this sorted". If I had any criticism at all, I think he needs to counter the bulldog bile with some more really practical, everyday examples of how our daily life could be affected if we don't sort this out.
Nick's credentials at international negotiation are second to none. He's negotiated with China on behalf of the EU and he knows Europe backwards. We saw during the leaders' debates that Cameron doesn't perform well in a high pressure situation when he's trying to put his case and Thursday night was a spectacularly bad day for him. If Cameron has any sense at all, he'll listen to Nick's advice on how to fix this.
It's more important than ever that the Coalition stays together, otherwise the right wing Tory eurosceptics will win and xenophobia and isolation will become the norm for this country.
Anyway, here are my tweets from Nick's appearance on Marr. I'll put up the iPlayer link when it's available.