BBC foreign affairs correspondant Simon Fisher has described today the ordeal he undertook to secure a interview with Nick Clegg, leader of the radical Liberal Democrat Organisation.
Clegg, the self-styled "election insurgent", has attracted controversy recently with his warnings of social unrest, threats of a "hung parliament" and rambling tapes proclaiming the benefits of the proportional representation system. "Well, my understanding of the situation is that the BBC was sent a letter anomynously by a member of the Liberal Democrats political wing offering an interview" remarked Fisher in an interview today, "When it was discovered this was to take place north of the Watford Gap, they naturally decided to send a foreign correspondant". The journey to meet Clegg took Fisher into unknown territory for a BBC reporter - the North of England - and it was a harrowing one. "As we went North, there were scenes of mass deprivation, armed criminal gangs on the streets, and sporadic gunfire. I felt like I was back in Kandahar. Although it did improve dramatically when we left Nottingham". Once Fisher reached the province of Sheffield, he was immediately accosted by two Liberal Democrats thugs close to Clegg. "They approached me and asked me very politely if I would possibly like to join them to see Clegg. After immediately informing me that they could not force me as that would be a contravention of my human rights, they nonetheless threatened to be quite cross with me if I didn't comply." Once Fisher agreed, he was immediately led into the complex cave system concealed within the mountinous region on the border between Sheffield Hallam and Derbyshire North East. It was there he finally met Clegg. "Oh it was a very informative interview, covering a wide range of topics, particularly the economy and the banking system - he was very convincing. I only wish that non-descript man in a suit had stopped trying to butt in."