Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Iain Dale's Guide to the LibDem Deputy Leadership Race

Now don't get too excited. There's another LibDem leadership in the offing - well, Deputy leadership. The LibDem Parliamentary Party will vote on the six contenders on March 22nd and they're laready wooing their small but imperfectly formed electorate. Here's my guide to the runners and riders...

SUSAN KRAMER 4-1
For: She's a woman. Good campaigner. Nicer than she seems on TV. Against: Irritating voice. Poor performer in the Commons. Supported Huhne.
PHIL WILLIS 25-1
For: Speaks his mind. Against: Appearance. Useless on TV.
ED DAVEY 2-1
For: Seen as a steady performer and safe pair of hands. Policy wonk. Against: Lacks cutting edge. Didn't sell Local Income Tax very well.
MATTHEW TAYLOR 6-1
For: Good media performer, well known. Against: Hopeless organiser. Underperformed in most jobs he's had.
DAVID HEATH 25-1
For: No idea. Not seen enough of him. Against: Has a beard.
VINCE CABLE 3-1
For: Ming loyalist. Solid performer. Policy wonk. Against: Boring. Already has a top job - two's being greedy

So if I had any money, who would I put it on? Ed Davey, I guess. But the LibDem Parliamentary Party is even more unpredictable than the Tories and they may go for Susan Kramer purely because she's a) female and b) she supported Chris Huhne, which would give a more balanced ticket. Matthew Taylor is unlikely to get it following his defeat to Paul Holmes as Chairman of the Parliamentary Party. Cable is being greedy and the other two surely cannot be serious. If I were a LibDem and had a vote I would be casting it for Susan Kramer. Well that's put the black spot on her then!

26 comments:

Paul Linford said...

If this is the full list of runners and riders then I agree Kramer would seem the most sensible choice. Being a woman, a Huhne supporter, and a relatively fresh figure, she would provide a good balance to Ming.

I can't say I would get too excited about any of the others. David Heath is a nonentity, Matthew Taylor's career has been in decline for several years, Ed Davey underperformed in his last job, and Phil Willis and Vince Cable are too old (when set alongside Ming.)

The only other realistic possibilities for Deputy Leader in my view would be Chris Huhne, on account of his second place in the leadership election, or Nick Clegg, on account of his status as heir apparent. But I suspect both men will want to postpone their confrontation until the next leadership election, whenever that will be.

dynamite said...

I agree, I think Kramer will get it. I would take issue with David Heath being a 'non-entity': he's a very excellent MP and has put in some astonishingly good Commons performances, especially on civil liberties and security issues, he's also very good on access to justice, something seemingly ignored by most MPs. Perhaps lacking much media profile, but a top bloke nonetheless.

Andrew said...

Susan Kramer is exceedingly irritating - I hope she gets the job!

Anonymous said...

Heath is actually not bad, a good Parliamentary performer one of the few Lib Dems able to hold his own in the chamber

barbara worth said...

Is holding your own allowed in the chamber now? Sorry, I sense the spectre of Kenneth Williams... ooooh matron!

wonkotsane said...

Main objection to Vince Cable is that he's a biggoted tosser.

Anonymous said...

ooohhh you are awful....but I like you

Anonymous said...

A point you have raised before, Mr Wonkotsane, and which you failed to elaborate on somewhat disappointingly. Winner of the Newsnight most impressive speaker award when they did that focus group at the election. Although it was the same rather bizarre American man who did for Davis so maybe I shouldn't raise it.

I think Kramer is front-runner although maybe Davey would be better - both have their strengths. I doubt Cable can be bothered with it and I think it unlikely that Clegg and Huhne will use it as some sort of virility test at this stage - no real benefits and lots of risks. Actually, Norman Lamb is very popular among his colleagues and would be good but again I can't see why he would particularly want to put himself up for it.

Tim said...

I have to agree with others about Heath- he may not have the right image, but he is respected as a very good MP, in a seat that should be tory (I believe it was the LD seat they spent most on in 2005). Living nearby, I saw they had a televised debate in Frome between the parties, and he won over 11 out of the 12 of the panel of undecided voters.

I very much doubt he'll win, but at least he can speak in the chamber.

For the record, I think should get it- as someone said- she will balance out Ming.

Tim said...

*that should say 'I think Kramer should get it'!

malcolm said...

Anonymous who do you think is awful but you like them anyway?
Also the other anonymous or to be fair it could be the same person,how do you know that Wonkotsane is a Mr?It's very possible that (s)he's a Mrs Wonkotsane or even a Miss!
Is Vince Cable truly a bigot Wonkotsane?(sorry to be on surname terms but I don't know how to address you!)

Rigger Mortice said...

'Susan Kramer is exceedingly irritating - I hope she gets the job! '

Good thinking.Bit of a dream team for the tories her and Ming The oh so Merciless

Anonymous said...

ooohh you are all awful darlings

James said...

My "inside source" tells me that Kramer isn't standing, while Andrew George is understood to be considering throwing his hat in the ring.

Tim Roll-Pickering said...

Does anyone know which candidate has received the backing of death of Lembit Opik?

Bob Piper said...

I've got to back Mr/Mrs/Ms Wonko here. I can tell you, when it comes to bigots and tossers, s/he's right up there. As for the deputies, why no place for our very olwn John Hemming. Come on lib dems, lighten up, put a bit of fun back in politics. Let's face it, with Ming they're going to need a little light relief.

Anonymous said...

Malcolm - I know he's a Mr by clicking on Wonkotsane's name and reading his blogger profile.

James - thanks, interesting info. Any idea who else is up for it?

Cllr David Morton said...

If thats the final line up I'd put my money on Kramer or Heath.

I think Vince will be seen as senior enough without another bauble, matthew taylor lost the Party Chairmanship badly,and I can't see the other pretenders to the throne installing davey as Deputy Leader. Phil Willis would inject a bit of life into things but thats why i think he won't get it.

Krammer has the novelty value of being a woman, is popular, good media performer and is a consolation prize to the Huhnies. Heath is very popular, excellent in the chamber and would be a superb link between the parliamentary party and the leader. As I say if I had to put a tenner on it Heath or Kramer

Richard Allen said...

I have to agree with several others about David Heath. He is excellant in the house and as Constitutional Affairs spokesman he has been an effective opponent of the governments anti-terror laws.

Anonymous said...

The reason heath is not so well known is because he has had to nurse a huge marginal constituency for the last three elections. Don't under-rate him - he's a class act. If that really is the final line-up, my money is on Dave Heath, especially if the odds are 25/1. Incidentally, as a Huhneatic, I would not regard Mrs Kramer as a consolation prize.

Valerie said...

As well as being the winner of the Newsnight-Frank Luntz Darling of the Public award, Vince Cable is also an excellent writer and is chock full of good sense. I'm currently enjoying his book on public service reform from the Centre for Reform. Who cares how old he is. But whatever...

Curtis Hunter said...

Kramer's husband has been very ill with cancer so she may well have other issues on her mind right now than the deputy leadership. She is an effective MP and some of the Tories posting above underestimate her ability to win over soft-Tory voters. As an ex-investment banker she has a fairly solid blue background. She would be an excellent deputy leader if her domestic situation would allow it.

Anonymous said...

There is no way Krammer will get the job. The Lib Dem Parliamentary Party hates women, particularly middle aged ones. And Ming sent a clear message about his views of her when he gave her International Development.

Anonymous said...

What a bizarre comment. International Development is a reasonably high profile shadow cabinet job and Susan only got into Parliament last year. She will be well pleased with it. Several female MPs did quite well out of the reshuffle and your accusation flies in the face of reality. As Curtis says, her husband has sadly been ill and I wonder whether she will go for it in fact. But if she did she would be very much in the running I can tell you - along with other good contenders.

Kevin Davis said...

Gather nominations have cloed and it's:Cable, Heath or Taylor.

wonkotsane said...

Sorry, just turned this comment up in Google.

Vince Cable is an Anglophobe that lumps English Nationalists in with white supremecists and islamic fundamentalists because they are a threat to his cushy career in British politics.

The dictionary says:

Bigot
One who is strongly partial to one's own group, religion, race, or politics and is intolerant of those who differ.

I think associating English nationalists with Islamic fundamentalists and white supremecists because, like most of the population, they don't buy into the "Britain is great" propoganda is pretty intolerant myself.

http://www.wonkosworld.co.uk/blog/2005/09/vince-cable-tosser.html