Shock horror: the guard drops. A politician saying what he’s thinking. Malfunction of usual filter system.

Radio 4 interviewer on ‘Today’ programme this morning: “Your party normally does well in by-elections; how do you explain … ” (i.e. the fact they didn’t win the Oldham East by-election)

Lib Dem President Tim Farron: “We are also a party that is not normally in power. Don’t know if you’d noticed.”

Could this start a trend? I doubt it Quite a few LD people have committed indiscretions lately, though rarely live on ‘Today’. This was different; a gentle rebuke for an ingenuous question.

I’d love to see a similar phenomenon when sportspeople are interviewed just seconds after finishing their match or event. For example:

“How do you explain the fact that despite ….. you lost to Usain Bolt?” (this was actually asked, in even more patronising terms, of Asafa Powell, one of the pre-tournament favourites, immediately after the Beijing 100 metres final.)

“Well, Gary (apologies; it wasn’t Gary Richardson but I just have this thing about his questioning style), I ran as fast I could (maybe I even ran a personal best) but he ran even faster. Don’t know if you’d noticed … but he’s pretty good.”

Sadly, it won’t happen very often, thanks to a combination of politeness and the media training that all public figures (politicians, sportspeople and celebs of all kinds) get nowadays. Politeness is a virtue I value; but in these situations I’d appreciate a little less of it.