Political Commentary and Other Stuff
I saw this item in Newsnight last night and felt sorry for poor old Ming. He did his best but the accusation of 'lacking charisma' was self evidently correct.
If we had Charles still, we would perhaps be better in the "leader popularity" stakes but we'd be an absolute mess internally.
I agree with the analysis on P-B, it's not a valid poll for leadership, it's a preference. The question was put, it appears, to an unscientific sample and doesn't gauge effect on voting intentions."Which LibDem leader would you prefer, a drunk who's failing to live up to his abilities, or a statesman with a strong grasp of policy" - well, y'see, I'm a Tory, so I want the drunk pleaseHow many respondents want Charles because he's more entertaining, palpably failing, etc?Personally, I'd like to see him back as leader when Ming stands down, he'll have had time to sort out his personal problems and the party itself would be in better shape.For now, Ming is doing a good job internally, which is what was needed. How well he'll do electorally? We've a few years to work that one out.
Let's say Kennedy had stood and won in the leadership contest. The LDs would have had a situation where the party members had saddled the parliamentary party with a leader in whom they had absolutely no confidence (and 25 of whom vowed never to work with him again). The press (probably assisted by LD MPs) would be reporting every time he just went past a bar.Given all that, I suppose it's just possible that (as actually happened) the LDs would have won Dunfermline, merely stood still in the local elections (rather than be trounced), and then came within 600 votes or so of really embarrassing the hoodie-hugger, but I doubt it.I don't dispute that Ming is painfully uncharismatic (I would have said stiff, but given the revelations during the leadership campaign, it might be misconstrued), as was evident during his encounter with the audience on Newsnight recently. All the same, they're probably better off with him than they would be with a wounded Kennedy foisted on the parliamentary party by the membership.One of Ming's smarter moves was making Clegg Home Affairs spokesman - having looked very credible while he was an MEP, he now looks a boring lightweight, even less distinguished than his predecessor in the post, Oaten. Maybe Cable would have been a better option?On a broader point, the disappointing performance of a man who so many commentators said would be an excellent LD leader makes one wonder about the perils of counterfactual political history - would Butler or Gaitskell have shared Campbell's unhappy fate of being decreed to be judged 'worthy of Empire if only he had never become Emperor'?
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