Ming Campbell can go home to Edinburgh this weekend secure in the knowledge that his position as LibDem leaders is now relatively safe. This week has been an important one for him. Had it all gone wrong, he could today be facing a real crisis, but the LibDem conference in Brighton will probably go down as one of the most boring in living memory. Why? for the simple reason that they behaved themselves.
As far as I can remember there were no rebellions and Ming carried the day on the 50% tax proposal. His speech (which I have only seen excerpts from) was unremarkable, but competent. He's a leader who provokes respect from his party rather than a collective flowing of juices (a la Paddy Ashdown). That should be enough to see him through. The New Statesman poll today, which shows 82% of their readers believe the LibDems need a new leader is not to be taken seriously. For him to be in peril, a similar number of LibDems would need to think that too. And they don't. So Ming is here to stay. As a Conservative, that doesn't make me unhappy. That's not me being complacent - it's because I believe (and all the polls prove this) that up against David Cameron, Cameron wins. Someone said the other day that Cameron has the 'Zeitgeist'. The same cannot be said for Ming, however charitable I am feeling today.