I doubt if Ming Campbell is feeling very charitable towards Susan Kramer today. On GMTV this morning she stuck the knife into him, albeit using the usual coded language. She knew what she meant, GMTV knew what she meant and so do the rest of us. Here's the transcript... David Mills: And a final question on the leadership, do you think Ming Campbell, if he felt he wasn’t the leader to take you to the next stage as you were talking about earlier, do you think he would make that decision on his own?
Susan Kramer: Ming of all things is a person of absolute integrity and I think he’s also harder on himself than almost any outsider would be. I mean, this is not a man who has flexible standards and I think if he felt that he wasn’t taking the party in the direction it needed to go, that if he didn’t see those changes happening, you know, internally, in the policy area, that had to be in place, he might well make that decision, but I think most of us looking at him basically would say ‘Ming, stick with it. This is not the time for revolving door politics, not the time to choose your leader by focus group, or how they look in a shop window. This is a time to choose your leader by their real qualities of integrity, determination, statesmanship, intelligence and a vision of taking Britain forward. I really do think that matters the most.
She has of course left herself enough 'wiggle room' for Liberal Democrats to tell us that she hasn't called for him to go. But the truth is she has spoken for many in the LibDems who wish Ming would fall on his sword but are too scared of the implications of a second leadership contest in fifteen months. You can hardly blame them either.
The LibDems are like a business which is failing. It's staff know it but the chief executive keeps insisting that there is a big order just around the corner. And the directors keep harking back to their last big success, as if they are somehow predestined to repeat it at some stage.
Susan Kramer may just have done the LibDems a favour by speaking her mind, sort of. Far better to have these discussions now, than a year before an election.
And, as Dame Edna might say, I mean that in a caring way.