Who is the best actor? Someone who knows both of them well says that it is their acting skills, demonstrated in their youth, that set them apart from their political rivals.
Gordon Brown might be cleverer but it was Tony Blair who knew how to hold an audience, who understood that it was not what you said but the way you said it that that made the emotional connection, that projected likeability. This won over voters. Brown never seemed to get this and believed his words and conviction were enough. Performance was beneath him.
David Cameron is a lot better actor than Brown but not as good as Clegg. That is why in that all important first television debate Clegg won the viewer vote so convincingly. This was a highly staged piece of theatre where acting skills allied to carefully prepared ‘spontaneous’ scripts and professionally directed rehearsal played to his strengths.
Both turned in superb performances in the famous press conference in the Rose Garden at No 10, described as ‘like a light romantic comedy with male leads played by Hugh Grant and Colin Firth’. (No acid reference to Brokeback Mountain!) Since then in the world of day-to-day politics and spontaneous interviews Clegg’s relative lack of political savvy and leadership are now evident, but it was performance that got him there.
In business pitches one of the commonest errors is that of focusing on content at the expense of performance. Be a Clegg, not a Gordon!