Tuesday, October 09, 2007

What now for Ming?

Okay, so I never thought he should have become leader in the first place, but I find myself feeling increasingly sorry for Ming Campbell. His conference speech in Brighton was easily the best of the season, and even contained the best joke - the line about Dave wanting to be Tony but not Maggie, and Gordon wanting to be Maggie but not Tony, and Ming not wanting to be any of them.

But nothing has gone right for Ming since, and the media focus on a potential presidential contest between Gordon and Dave has left him and his party completely marginalised.

Today the news took a fresh turn for the worse. The latest Populus Poll put his party on 12pc of the vote, while Martin Baxter's acclaimed Electoral Calculus site now predicts the Lib Dems will lose all their seats, although Martin's formula does of course not allow for the "incumbency factor."

With Gordon now having seemingly put off the election till 2009, by which time Ming will be 68, it now seems a foregone conclusion that he will fall on his sword sometime between now and next spring, to give a new leader a year to bed himself in before the anticipated May 2009 poll.

If I thought the outcome of all this would be a Chris Huhne leadership, I would be mildly optimistic about the Lib Dems' prospects. But I suspect and fear that the real outcome will be that they choose Nick Clegg.

I've said it a few times before on other people's blogs, but I just can't see the attraction. Clegg is seen as the man who can take Lib Dem target seats off the Tories, but despite having had the sexiest brief on the Lib Dem frontbench for the past 18 months he has hardly set the Thames on fire.

If they are going to choose someone on the right of the party to compete for Tory votes, they would be better off in my view with brainy David Laws, currently an amazing 66-1 with the bookies.

As some wit on PB.com has pointed out, those odds are surely worth taking if only for the fact that it would enable you to sing "I backed Dave Laws, and Dave Laws won" to the tune of a certain Clash number.

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Matt Wardman said...


Your PB link is broken.

Anonymous said...

Well, The Clash might have recorded the version of
I Fought the Law most familiar to our generation, but the original was by Sonny Curtis and the Crickets.

More detail than you could possibly need here.

Anonymous said...

So Ming's last tilt at power will be be in positioning the argument for a successor... any odds on Charlie Kennedy?

Anonymous said...

I Fought the Law was also covered by the Dead Kennedys - coincidence or an omen for the chances of a Charlie comeback? Musically, its not as tight as the Clash version but the lyrical changes make it more subversive and cynical

Anonymous said...

Laws is very cerebral, but many of the LDs see him as a cold fish.

Clegg used to be quite impressive as an MEP, but since arriving at Westminster, he's given off an air of dessicated self-satisfaction.

I think Norman Lamb is more impressive than either Huhne or Clegg, but he has, alas, no leadership ambitions.

I'm not intruding on private grief here, when, as a Labour activist, I want to see the LDs hold LD/Con marginals such as Cheadle and Eastleigh, so as to make it the hill steeper for Cameron next time.

I know he can't help it, but Ming looks too much like the genial talking skeleton from the old Scotch videotape adverts.

Anonymous said...

Give me Lynn Featherstone in place of either, any day . . See: http://www.libdems.org.uk/party/people/ms-lynne-featherstone.0302.html

Anonymous said...

"As some wit on PB.com has pointed out, those odds are surely worth taking if only for the fact that it would enable you to sing "I backed Dave Laws, and Dave Laws won" to the tune of a certain Clash number."

Us wednesdayites could sing that about our manager, were we able to actually win a match in the first place!