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Watch: Did Osborne entrap Clegg over Iraq?


9:05 am - July 22nd 2010

by Sunny Hundal    


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By now we all know of the minor controversy yesterday when Nick Clegg was supposedly representing a “personal view” when he called the invasion of Iraq “illegal”.

On a technical point, the DPM is supposed to be representing the government and so can’t necessarily express his own party’s view on the issue.

But that aside – there’s something very curious about yesterday’s incident.

Watch the video below and keep an eye on George Osborne’s face right till the end.


(video via Hadleigh Roberts)

Did you catch Osborne’s look at the end? Have you ever seen a more smug face?

But more importantly – why does he point at Jack Straw with that smug smile quite a few seconds after Clegg has clearly strayed away from party line?

You can see William Hague’s face in response – slightly wincing but smiling because he knows the shitstorm that will ensue as a result of Clegg’s statement. But Osborne… it’s like he knew this was going to happen.

Says Hadleigh Roberts:

Maybe the smug look was not because of the line against Jack Straw, it was in fact a sting operation to embarrass the Deputy Prime Minister.

Entirely possible!

Though Sunder Katwala thinks there’s something more obvious at work here:

Poor Nick may have just been agreeing with George – yet George thinks quite the opposite and has always been among the staunchest defenders of the Iraq war in both public and private.

Unless, it seems, there’s a political point to be scored.

But isn’t Osborne also somewhat strengthened by leaving Clegg hanging out to dry after that exchange? That was a lot of political point scoring in one go.

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


‘It’s like he knew this was going to happen’ – you saw Osborne’s lips moving, right?

You’re bonkers. Osbourne would smile and point whatever the point scored, and his lips weren’t moving.

His lips definitely were moving. It looked as though he knew what was going to be said.

Cleggy really is out of huis depth, isn’t he?

Watch Clegg’s left arm just before the clip finishes. He nudges Osborne suggesting it was planned.

But wait, can’t you see the second speaker behind the grassy knoll? He tipped off Shergar to make the Loch Ness Monster tell Clegg to say what he has believed for the last ten years – thereby killing Princess Diana. Come on sheeple, only connect!

Sheesh.

It’s meant to be a light hearted poke Tim J, lighten up. You right-wingers and being po-faced etc etc.

6 – and mine was deadly serious?

Duh. It was obvious what happened: Osborne smiled anxiously as he heard Clegg’s line, noticed all the Labour people pointing at him (cos they knew Osborne supported the war), and so he responded by smiring and pointing at Straw who also supported the war.

Typical Commons banter, but gotta love your over-active Leftie imagination.

You gotta love Osborne’s smug smile though. I’m hypnotised by it

If you look at the body language of the frontbenchers you can see it was a planned attack on Straw. I wonder to what extent Clegg wished to put forward his position and what help he received from the likes of Osborne to achieve it. Interestingly, Hagues responses indicates he knew what was coming as well but, felt it was going a bit too far.

11. Shatterface

Wow, this is almost exciting as watching ‘Lie To Me’. If ‘Lie To Me’ didn’t feature Tim Roth and was written by a paranoid.

Next week: ‘CSI: Westminster’

12. Sunder Katwala

It seems to me fairly clear (from the earlier animated whispering too) that they are agreeing it would be good to end on Iraq – and also that Osborne already knows what the line is as Clegg is speaking it.

What I think is far too Machiavellian is that Osborne is stitching up Clegg – he’s just engaging in some schoolboy Commons banter because he thinks they’ve hit Straw. Tactics over strategy? Whatever the wisdom or not for Clegg, at least it is his view.

It looks to me like Osborne is mouthing along with what Clegg is saying at certain points.

you truther bastards; maybe Ozzy saw the pissing script that Clegginton is reading from – tear yourselves good with Ockham’s razor

15. Cynical/Realist?

I find it more likly that they planned what was going to be said, and that Osbourne didn’t have the wit to realise it would be a gaff. Then later when the press ask questions just blame Clegg! An unforseen benefit!

It is quite hard to watch it and not think that George Osbourne knew what was going to be said.

16. Margin4eror

I’m with 15.

I think perhaps they planned to end with Iraq – and maybe neither realised the gaffe, or maybe the wording wasn’t planned and Clegg scrwd it up and osborne didn’t notice.

But actually this is a real pain for the Lib Dems – as they hemorage left-leaning support their hope was at least in part that by repeating Iraq hopefully those lefties would not migrate to Labour.

Now when they mention Iraq they will be asked by reflex “Has Cameron approved that policy position” or something similar.

I think the explanation for this is a slight nervous tic, intense concentration and Osborne engaging in unconscious mimicry. I have blogged more details about this here.

I think you might be crediting Osborne with intelligence that he doesn’t have.

Hmmmm, interesting point, I was immediately suspicious because I find Osborne positively loathesome.

However, what I found more interesting during the exchanges with Straw was that when Osborne leaned close to Clegg to whisper in his ear, Clegg, in a very exaggerated way, leant away from him. Perhaps Clegg finds him loathesome too.

Exactly what are the Bullingdon boys threatening to do to the LibDems should they upset their dreadful plans?


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    Watch: The moment Osborne entrapped Clegg over Iraq? http://bit.ly/bzcIim

  2. RobSimmons

    RT @libcon: Watch: The moment Osborne entrapped Clegg over Iraq? http://bit.ly/bzcIim

  3. sunny hundal

    Did George Osborne entrap Clegg over 'illegal' Iraq? http://bit.ly/b5cE6D

  4. Derek Bryant

    RT @sunny_hundal Did George Osborne entrap Clegg over 'illegal' Iraq? http://bit.ly/b5cE6D

  5. Jon Lockwood

    @PenguinGalaxy via sunny_hundal- Did George Osborne entrap Clegg over 'illegal' Iraq? http://bit.ly/b5cE6D (And I will not mention again)

  6. Luke Bozier

    over-estimating and analysing Osborne? RT @sunny_hundal
    Did George Osborne entrap Clegg over 'illegal' Iraq? http://bit.ly/b5cE6D

  7. Linda_Marric

    RT @sunny_hundal Did George Osborne entrap Clegg over 'illegal' Iraq? http://bit.ly/b5cE6D < Is he clever enough to do that?

  8. Samuel Coates

    I'll leave this one with you, @JohnRentoul -> RT @sunny_hundal Did George Osborne entrap Clegg over 'illegal' Iraq? http://bit.ly/b5cE6D

  9. Samuel Coates

    I'll leave this with you, @JohnRentoul -> RT @sunny_hundal Did George Osborne entrap Clegg over 'illegal' Iraq? http://bit.ly/b5cE6D

  10. David Miller

    Decidedly! His schadenfreude was not so schaden! RT @sunny_hundal: Did George Osborne entrap Clegg over 'illegal' Iraq? http://bit.ly/b5cE6D

  11. SSP Campsie

    RT @DavidMiller_UK: Decidedly! His schadenfreude was not so schaden! RT @sunny_hundal: Did George Osborne entrap Clegg over 'illegal' Iraq? http://bit.ly/b5cE6D

  12. Mehdi Hasan

    RT @sunny_hundal: Did George Osborne entrap Clegg over 'illegal' Iraq? http://bit.ly/b5cE6D

  13. Watch: Did Osborne entrap Clegg over Iraq? | Liberal Conspiracy - Iraq - middleeast.co

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  14. Nick Winstone Cooper

    Was Osborne mouthing the same words as Clegg said Iraq illegal? Looks like it http://bit.ly/bzcIim

  15. Nick Winstone Cooper

    @HuwOgmoreMP Excellent bit abt resignation.99% certain his puppet master Osborne was mouthing the words as he said them http://bit.ly/bzcIim

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  17. Nick Winstone Cooper

    Was Osborne mouthing the same words as Clegg said Iraq illegal? Looks like it http://bit.ly/bzcIim @10 secs





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