First, let me wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a peaceful and prosperous New Year. I've finally escaped work for a few days and with Mrs Loadofoldstodge having organised the Christmas shopping with military precision, we are stacked, stocked and ready to scoff.
In the political week, Nick Clegg scraped home in the Liberal Democrat leadership election, winning by just 511 votes in an incredibly tight race. I voted for Nick for reasons I explained a couple of posts ago and won't repeat. However, there's no doubt Chris Huhne "won" the campaign and had it not been for the "Calamity Clegg" episode, might well have won the leadership.
Nick has moved to re-shuffle the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary team and it's good to see Vince Cable keeping his role as Treasury Spokesman while Chris Huhne gets the important Home Affairs post. The promotion of Ed Davey is significant and it will be interesting to see how the MP for Kingston & Surbiton fares in this role.
The polls have become more volatile - after YouGov showed a twelve point lead for the Conservatives, tonight's ICM poll for The Guardian has slashed that to a five-point lead with a strong recovery for Labour built, I think, on falling interest rates and a general sense of Christmas "goodwill".
As might have been expected, the Conservative activists who now dominate politicalbetting.com have expressed their myriad strands of "disappointment" with Nick but they can be ignored with confidence. Mike Smithson thinks the party should have received a boost from Clegg's election - er, why, Mike ? Most people have been thinking or worrying about Christmas - I doubt that belong LD members and political anoraks, anyone has realised that there is a new Lib Dem leader.
Nick Clegg has it to prove - that's beyond question - and the first few PMQs will be significant though I remember that neither Charles Kennedy nor Paddy Ashdown impressed at the start of their respective leaderships. Perhaps of more interest has been Nick's comment that he "does not believe in God". Putting aside the faux outrage from political opponents, I think this is hugely interesting. I don't believe in God either and neither do I think that as we approach 2008 we can have the Church of England enjoying its current privileged role. The dissestablishment of the CofE is long overdue and it's something I support.
Anyway, politics remains interesting and will be more so next year. I suspect some of the Tory activists who have believed victory to be certain will have their confidence shaken next year. There's all to play for then but let's enjoy Christmas now...