Monday, July 31, 2006

Ming & the Media

My favourite LibDem blogger Jonathan Calder has written an excellent piece for The Guardian today headlined LET MING BE MING, which you can read HERE. It's an incisive analysis of Ming Campbell's media problems.


24 comments:

Anonymous said...

Iain seen the latest MORI, you'd better start praying it's a rogue. Your mate DC is crashing before he's off the runway. Notice there isn't a comment on it on your site. Go on, tell us what you really think about 'Hug and snog, not hang and flog' Cameron.

Scary Biscuits said...

Ming's problem is that he is Ming. It's not a PR issue. It's that the electorate is finally waking up to the fact that the Liberal's are not the SDP, 'neither one thing nor the other but something inbetween' (as Spitting Image so devastatingly put it). They are realising that the Liberals are way to the left of Labour on many issues.

This is the reason the Liberals did 'surprisingly' well in the last election in former Labour strongholds yet very badly in the South East. It is also the reason that they are probably going to loose about 40 seats they have borrowed from the Tories in the south at the next election, whoever is leader.

The Liberals have spent the last 20 years as Labour's auxiliary force. Their failure to overtake the Tories and move the political centre of balance in England decisively to the left is now a distant dream (and the real reason for Charlie's dismissal).

They therefore have only two options left. (1) To continue as Labour's auxiliaries and go down with them perhaps picking up a few scraps in the carnage. Or (2) to use the decline of Labour as an opportunity to overtake them - just as Labour did to the Liberals after Lloyd George distroyed the Liberals as a party of Government n the 1920s.

The trouble with this latter option is that most of the existing MPs are in borrowed Tory seats and need to sound more right not more left to have a chance of keeping their seats. In my opinion, however, they are doomed anyway. The question for the Liberal party (as distinct from its MPs) is whether the seats they loose to the Tories in the next election will be compensated by gains in the inner cities.

Scary Biscuits said...

Anonymous, the truth is, alas, that Blair's policy on the Middle East has the support of most of the country. As long as there's war there he will stay as PM.

Blair's second line of defence is Prescott. While we're talking about him and other corruption, most voters think all politicians are the same and tell the pollsters accordingly.

Only when the headlines are once again full of news about closing hospitals, indicipline are grade inflation in schools, rising unemployment, immigration crisis, prosecutions of people defending their homes etc will the Tories stand a chance of being heard.

Anonymous said...

Excellent analysis dodonline, only one question - given that's all true, why on earth don't they outflank Cameron, who is really quite weak on the issues, and use Ming's natural centre-right tendencies to demolish what's left of the Tories - a much better bet really. The reason must be that Cameron is too convincing and now too real in the House for the wobbly Ming to manage it. The Tories are after all simply moving back into the sensible centrist ground they always used to occupy pre-Keith Joseph. One Nation and all that. Poor Ming - his days are numbered!

phone cam foolery said...

Anon 12:48 clown
Don't forget that there really are conservative forces waiting to take over when Campbell does indeed fall on his smug face, they just need the great unwashed to wake up to what has really been done to this country over the last 9 years.

Michael Oakeshott said...

Get rid of him. His only attribute is perceived popularity with the electorate. The one trick pony can't even do that now. Bring in Davis before it's too late.

Dave is destined to be catalogued along with such one hit wonder as Michael Knighton, tamaguchi, Hearsay and Darius Vassell.

Paul Linford said...

I too am an admirer of Jonathan and his blog, but I'm afraid this piece invites some fairly obvious pisstaking.

If he believes that the Lib Dems should beware of trying to sell Ming as something he is not, it presumably follows that they shouldn't be marketing him as a potential Prime Minister.

Dodonline is right. The problem is not that Ming is not being allowed to be Ming. The problem is that Ming is Ming.

Geoffrey Brooking said...

That MORI poll is a cracker.

We have to keep him as leader until the next election at least.

Scary Biscuits said...

Anonymouse, in answer to your question above (why don't the Liberals use Ming's centre right tendencies to demolish what's left of the Tories?) I think that's exactly what they are trying to do. That's why they elected Ming.

The trouble is that ship has sailed. The time to have destroyed the Tories was when they were down at their nadir, in 2001. Remember Blair telling his party to fight that election 'as though it was on a knife edge'? He was trying to get the Liberals to replace the Tories.

Unfortunately for Blair, all the spending at that election made virtually no difference. The Tory rump held firm.

Since then, however, Tory fortunes have revived and the Liberals have no prospect of demolishing 'what's left of the Tories' as there's simply too much of it and it's in rude health.

Although I think the Liberals did stand a chance of overtaking the Conservatives and destroying them (it happened in Canada), I don't think it would have been a lasting legacy for Blair. The thing is that well over 50% of Britain is conservative (with a small see) even if they don't identify with the Conservative Party. So even if the Tories had been destroyed, they would ultimately have been replaced by a new right wing party not a second left wing party. (Again, this is what eventually happened in Canada.)

So the election of Ming was effectively a vote for carrying on as before. I think it's a great shame that Simon Hughes was so embarrassed by the campaign. It meant the Liberals decided their future direction (and maybe of Britain) not on the issues but on a single human being's weaknesses.

RedEye said...

Ming Campbell eating fish and chips watching Come Dancing reminded me of Douglas Hurd protesting that his father was a tenant farmer, and that he was only able to go to Eton on a scholarship.

His second (and belated) approach, growling that he wasn't running for the leadership of a 'demented Marxist outfit' would have done him far more good.

Operation Gravitas didn't work for Kinnock (particularly not after the 'Well alright' performance at the Sheffield Rally - never were so many double-breasted suits worn in vain).

And, of course, everyone remembers how Peter Tatchell's gesture of solidarity with the people of Bermondsey by living on the Rockliffe Estate backfired in the 83 by-election. As one Cockney said when interviewed outside the polling station, he wasn't bothered about Tatchell being Marxist or gay, but he didn't vote for him when 'if he can't get himself off the Rockcliffe Estate, how's he going to get me off it?'

Ian Thorpe said...

Ming - erm, thats a fragile antique isn't it?

Anonymous said...

I think you are a closet Minger Ian. Is it because you have heard that IDS is now bessmates with Charlie Kennedy?

Anonymous said...

Redeye, it was the Rockingham Estate. I delivered it with leaflets for that ever-so-much-in-a-hurry mr Hughes!

garypowell said...

One big problem for Ming reguarding the media, apart from being Ming, is that Rupert Murdock will just disreguard him, and not just because he looks rotten topless.

The BBC will lick Liberal and other socialist arse, but then, no change there.

Matt Dean said...

Its slightly off topic but I see that Blair hails the era of 'cross-dressing' politics in the States yesterday. I can't see this appealing to Ming but maybe Mark Oaten was premature in announcing his decision not to stand at the next general election!!!!!
www.mattdeansoton.blogspot.com

Marquee Mark said...

Dodonline said Blair's policy on the Middle East has the support of most of the country. As long as there's war there he will stay as PM.

You're way off on this - and particularly amongst women. They hate what they are seeing on the television - the dead, the maimed, the destruction - and they blame Blair. If he hadn't been so damned insistent on supporting Bush in scuppering the inclusion of the word "immediately" - then perhaps those children might still be alive? That was the look on his ashen-grey face at the news conference. He knew he was in trouble - perhaps as a man of faith, he actually felt some higher authority (higher even than Bush...)

The Conservatives win elections when women vote for them. End of story. When are the Tories going to wake up to that fact? Macho posturing about "fuck ceasefires - let them bomb at will" gets filed away and isn't easily forgotten. The Falklands was about chucking out an invader. Ditto Kuwait. People are up for that. But you lose them when you start out on wars of choice. And failing to support a ceasfire - electing to continue the killing - is choosing war when there is an alternative.

Biggest of all IDS's numerous failures was giving Blair a blank cheque on Iraq. It cost us a couple of dozen seats at the last election, maybe Labour's overall majority. No way to put a cigarette paper between the two parties on their willingness to invade Iraq. Give yourself a get-out clause if (when) it all goes tits up. Schoolboy error. Being repeated in the current conflict.

Macho posturing will hurt Cameron - maybe it already is. Hug a hoodie? Forget it - try hug a housewife. They actually vote...

phone cam foolery said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
virtually anonymous said...

Charles Kennedy would be a much better LibDem leader than Ming. Which thought seems to have occurred belatedly to him as well.

He'll be OK the second time around. Probably forgotten all about the first time anyway - too pissed.

While we're at it can real Conservatives have a rerun please, with Davis this time? It's never too late to get things right. Come on Iain. You know it makes sense.

garypowell said...

Marquee Mark
I agree about women electing Conservative governments, however the rest, at the risk of being offensive is sexist rubbish. You could not possibly know any women never mind been married to one. It seems to me that its men that have been doing all the crying stuff lately. As for DC giving anywomen other than his wife any hugs, that will not just lose him votes that could cost him whats left of his balls.

Good at this point to remember British History under the following leaders. I think the point is obvious

Queen Boudica
Queen Elizibeth 1
Queen Mary (bloody that is)
Queen Mary of Scotland
Queen Victoria

I dont think any of these ladies were known as pacifists. However this is efectively all of our British queens.

At the risk of being sexist myself in my experience women always did have more Balls then men.

BTW is their any men out there that really thinks they dont LOVE their children as much as their partner does? Because personaly I have never met one.

garypowell said...

Sorry I forgot to add THE SAINTED LADY (whos name I am not worthy to use) to the list.

Men fight actual wars because they are more physicaly strong more mentaly stupid and biologicaly more expendable. Not because they dont love their children as much.

wonderful for his age said...

If Charles Kennedy grabs back the reins, as it is rumoured he might, then the Bycycling Boy Berk is in deep do do. All the Green Hug-a-Muggers, who have been boosting the Berk's popularity for the past few months, will return to the fold (where they belong).
The Tories will collapse in the opinion polls, and there will be much weeping and gnashing in what is left of the Party.

Still, all may not be lost. Que TB to cross the floor. TB gets at least a further fifteen years in number 10, and we can be led by the Real Thing rather than a weedy ersatz edition.

It could be rather good. TB poncing round the world with B. Geldorf in tow, boring the arse of all and sundry, while a Tory with balls in number 11, gets to grips with the mess Gordon has deceiptfully created these past nine years.

Two interesting questions are, would TB bring his deputy (he who knows where the bodies/bodystockings are) with him and, if he did, what role could be found for him? - Commissar of the 'A' List perhaps?

Scary Biscuits said...

It's funny how all arguments end up being about Iraq. (Which is convenient for pacificists because it stops us remembering the genuine epoch-defining event, 9/11.)

Marqee Mark, How many women liked seeing their children or husbands fall from those towers? How many female Ming voters enjoyed identifying their loved one's remains from the wreckage of a tube train? How many jewish women like this http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3284163,00.html


We're all in favour of peace. The argument is how best to get there and stay there.

On the subject of women voting, it's not important that you don't go to war (quite the contrary sometimes). It's important that you do it for the right reason (ie not for matcho posturing) and are able to communicate that reason.

Incidentally, the First and Second World Wars were wars of choice by Britain. At the beginning we fought alone against the Nazis while most of the rest of the world either sat on their hands or actively undermined us.

True, it is a female trait to wait until your attacker is actually in your bedroom before fighting back. I doubt that many would choose a man who shares the same instinct.

Charlie and Ming might think they are on to a winner with their bleeding heart pacificism but it will kill them in the end.

If we hadn't been talking about Iraq at the last election, we would have been talking about failing schools and hospitals. Now that really would have helped Tory and even Liberal votes.

Anonymous said...

dodonline is a cute and apt name for your arguments. what the **** have tube explosions and 9/11 got to do with the Iraq adventure and the Israeli terrorism in the west bank which this whole South Lebanon adventure is a cover for?

Bin Laden thought saddam was an enemy 'beyond Bush' and So do/did Hizbullah and the rest of the Shi-ites.

of course there are a lot of very dangerous religious nutters of all sorts of persuasions around the world(starting with thousands home-grown in the USA - remember the Oklahoma bombers!), but the Bush Blair policy of vigorous recruiting for the Muslim variety by annihilating innocent civilians in a 'couldn't give a damn manner hardly makes any sense at all.

let's face it, Bush and Blair have gone for easy targets except where they let others (eg Israel) do their dirty work for them, andthey pick them nothing to do with murderous nature or disrespect for human rights, they stick to where the money/oil is at stake.

Scary Biscuits said...

Anonymous, it's an unfortunate fact that if you love peace too much you're enemies choose you not the other way around.

As you rightly point out there are a lot of nutcases religious and otherwise all over the world. Unfortunately, the Protestant/Catholic/Buddist/Communist/Nationalist/Socialist ones don't seem to be causing much trouble at the moment. There are currently 28 active conflicts in the world. 26 of them involve Muslims v kaffirs (ie the rest of us). The fact that many of these Muslims, like Bin Laden, hate other Muslims as much as they hate us doesn't make them not a problem for us.

On the subject of innocent civilians, I agree with the Muslim definition. How innocent are you if you your children's bedroom doubles as an arms cache?

Finally, on the matter of oil the US spent more on the war in the first year than the total value of all Iraq's discovered reserves at today's prices. How does your argument about this being all about oil stack up now?

Perhaps you should vote for Ming or Charlie. They haven't got any idea beyond pacificm either, not that facts seem to bother them much on the BBC's sofas.