Wednesday, October 17, 2007

LibDems Must Not Copy Cameron

Last night on Vox Politix we (naturally enough) discussed the LibDem leadership. Spectator columnist John Torode made a very telling point. He reckoned that Nick Clegg would be seen as the LibDems' answer to David Cameron. However, Clegg would be wrong to try to enter into some kind of beauty contest with Cameron "as no one does David Cameron better than David Cameron". It may seem an obvious point to make, there is a dilemma here for Nick Clegg. Twenty five per cent of people who voted LibDem in 2005 now intend to vote Tory according to a recent poll. Why? Presumably because they like what David Cameron is offering them. Far be it from me to offer the LibDems advice on how to attract these voters back, but I suspect success does not lie in trying to copy Cameron. It lies in offering a distinctive narrative and a different policy agenda to the two bigger parties. And it is here that Chris Huhne may come to the fore. He is advantaged by the two month timetable. He also has the advantage of having had a dry run in 2005 and can dust off his previous policy platform. It will need to be tarted up and radicalised, but he's way ahead of Clegg in being able to offer a coherant narrative.

My guess is that a third candidate will emerge too. Steve Webb will stand as the Hughes replacement. His second preferences may determine which of the other two win. But the candidate who may set the contest alight is the 29 year old Julia Goldsworthy. It may seem ridiculously sublime to go from a 66 year old to a 29 year old but I gather Ming wants her to stand - not because she will win (she won't) but so she can put a marker down for the future. She'd certainly liven things up.

UPDATE: The Doughty News hour at 8pm this evening will feature an hour long discussion about the LibDem leadership with LibDem MPs Nick Harvey and Paul Rowen and former spin doctor Mark Littlewood. And at 10pm John Hemming MP (who is rumoured to want to stand) will join me on Vox Politix.

96 comments:

wonderfulforhisage said...

Goodness how exciting.

If Clegg becomes 'The Heir to Cameron' would that make him a sort of grandson of Blair.

I wonder which LibDem could stand as 'The Heir to Brown'?

Anonymous said...

Sounds like the Tories are very worried about the effect Clegg may have on their prospects. There isn't any evidence at all to suggest that "only Cameron can do Cameron"; a lot of people might find Clegg more in tune with their own lives and concerns than Cameron who is from a very different social background

Anonymous said...

If Julia Goldsworthy asked for a vote from me, I'd give her one.

drwho said...

I agree with wonderful. The message here is that everyone is yearning for a Blairalike - which is very sad indeed ...

Anonymous said...

Bit like noone does Blair better than Blair-Dave please note!

Henry Rogers said...

Surely they could learn about the long term effects of assassination from the experience of the Tory party rather than conducting their own experiments. But that's up to them and perhaps things will turn out ok for them. Only loonies want to see other parties "ground into the dust".

judith said...

8.32 - Clegg is from a different social background to Cameron????

Both went to venerable and excellent public schools, both are Oxbridge graduates, so the difference is ......?

Sonicdeathmonkey said...

I think if they go after Cameron votes, then they will hurt the torys to a certain extent...possibly enough to cost the Tory's the next election.

However, I think that would be a mistake for them. The Lib Dems are seen as more 'left-winging' now than right wing, and this is where they certain are placed with regards Iraq, tax etc.

I think taking votes away from Labour would be a much more fertile ground...

But the most important thing is for the Lib Dems to decide who and what they are...they cannot try to be all things to all people.

Fred said...

Interesting times in Cornwall. Only just two years ago Falmouth and Camborne Conservatives were split to the gunnels with an internicine civil war, which still goes on today. The consequence was that a certain conservative seat was lost to the Liberal Democrat Julia Goldsworthy.
Ashley Crossley the Tory PPC should have won that seat and if you listen to conservatives down there he would have done so, but for the troubles caused by CCHQ and a rogue group of long standing conservatives led by a Mrs M. It is a fact they are still in control today aiming to perpetuate the loss. Good hard working conservatives seem to have walked with membership today at the 200 level, instead of the rich 1100 level.
Two weeks ago Electoral Calculus was predictig a win of five of the six cornish seats to the conservatives. This would have been a massive achievement as the Liberal Democrats hold all seats and the County Council.
The local Cornish Papers are this week full of the Liberal Democrats because of the resignation of Ming and the fact that Goldsworthy is in the frame- Possibly now, or in the future. She may even appear as Deputy Leader. Goldsworthy is a danger to the Tories as she is popular and could easily swing the current polls away from the tories. The Cornwall Conservatives are lacking a big hitter and the current PPCs are low key with no razz a ma tazz or inspiration, with a shambles in memebership and support and administration. Infighting amongst councillors, membership and former conservatives is debilitating.
A large cadre of Independent conservative minded people is working in advance of the official conservatives and are proposing Right Wing Candidates at the next election, but are appearing not to reveal their hand at this stage.
The Conservatives to win really need a Mr or Mrs Conservative to be a centre figure to challenge Goldsworthy, if they wish to be serious to win.

Anonymous said...

Judith said 8.32 -
"Both went to venerable and excellent public schools, both are Oxbridge graduates, so the difference is ......?"

The difference is that Cameron is BRITISH.

Paul Linford said...

All this talk about the Lib Dems needing a Blairalike is no more than a symptom of the fact that Cameron is doing well at the moment and Brown is in the doldrums. If Cameron was still tanking in the polls and Brown was still riding high, Nick Clegg would not be quite the favourite that he is.

Newmania said...

For the Liberal Democrats to pretend to be a Party of small Goverment ,low tax and freedom, so as to allow Brown in would be the ultimate Liberal lie. Anyone who has ever dealt witb them locally knows they are no such thing.
I see Ming is angling for a job working for Brown and I wonder if Brown had tempted him before he threw himself on his sword ,( just ahead of the knife aimed at his back ). It would make strategic sense and brown has previous for this sortv of fix ...see Cooper /Balls and their cosy seats

Clegg may sound plausible but he will let in the the most centralisng illiberal Goverment we have had since the war.

Principled Orange book Clegg will then accept a seat on brown`s Cabinet. For those Liberals who value Liberty there is only one Party , the Conservative Party. For those who are socialists at heart they will vote Labour , as they often do. Since New Labout the left wing opf the Liberal party has been the most profoundly pointless excercise since swimming costumes for fish.

Ralph said...

While the Lib Dems can win seats off Labour, winning Tory seats will be hard for them. So the need someone who won't scare away their vote in the south but win seats off Labour in the north.

Clegg isn't that person.

dizzy said...

Hemming is not a rumour.. he declared last nigt on Channel 4 News to Cathy Newman. Said he was the man to lead the party and that he was the man to beat Cameron and Brown. My wife sniffed when he said it which says it all for me.

Anonymous said...

Nick Nice-but-Floppy is far too soft to lead the Nasty Party. He'd get knifed even quicker than Ming. What they need is a Chris Reptilian-Alien-in-Human-Form with a hide like a komodo dragon. It's a rough tough political jungle out there in the Liberal Democrats.

Anonymous said...

A month ago Cameron was going on about Green Taxes, Environmental Sustainability, Social Cohesion, and various other woolly, but worthy issues. Moving to the centre ground was him aim, modernising the party his goal. A week later with the sniff of an election, he has moved to Europe, Immigration and Tax cuts for the well off.

Cameron has sprinted decidedly to the right, and he can’t go back now. Two years of commissions were scrapped after one 60 minute speech. The Redwood’s, and his merry gang of right wing nutters, have triumphed over modernization. Even you, Iain Dale, have capitulated to the nutters, Not a single mention of Camerons poverty speech. More hilarious a fortune was wasted by the Tories on the Coleshill Campaigning Service in the election fever.

Sorry Dale, but Cameron has opened the door for the Lib Dems by moving to the right.

Anonymous said...

how can something be ridiculously sublime ? do you know what either of these words mean ?

Anonymous said...

Let's be honest Dale, you are just shitting yourself that Clegg leading the Libs would transfer the balance of power far enough away from the Tories to put Labour back in the driving seat.

Cameron needs about a ten percent majority in the polls to give him a one seat majority. The chances of that happening under a resurgent Liberal Democrat leader are no hope and Bob Hope.

brian in the tamar valley said...

Sorry to disappoint you and guido Iain but the photogenic Julia Goldsworthy has told our local daily paper (Western Morning News) tat she has absolutely no intention of standing.

Anonymous said...

Re Anon @8:46-- I could give Goldsworty one as well ( a vote ).
Shes still single and not bad looking, compared with the Tory PPC Totties in Cornwall.
I would say shes got a head start over the likes of Newton.

Gavin Whenman said...

John Hemming is "rumoured" to want to stand? Check this:
http://johnhemming.blogspot.com/2007/10/position-statement-for-leadership_16.html

He has very much thrown his hat in the ring.

Anonymous said...

What is the point in the Lib-Dems (or Labour or Tories) having a 'distinctive narrative'. Our government is 80-90% set in Brussels already.

Newmania said...

Sorry Dale, but Cameron has opened the door for the Lib Dems by moving to the right.


This is so silly .Cameron has not moved to the right . Concerns about Europe are not "right wing " and the need for tax cuts was preempted by the " Modernising Liberals " actually .They were going to raise the IHT entry they say .

The country has shifted to the right and I suspect it is going to shift further.


What about a lower rate of income tax at low levels . Part of the multigenerational task or reconnecting the welfare class with the country has to include movement this way.


How can the Liberal Party be so determined to hand our country to a super state . Whats Liberals about that ? Clegg is not English of course so he won`t understand .



BTW Iain I see that Sunny from Pickled Politics was invited by the BBC to discuss there web site , or something . You are the number one blogger. Why didn`t theyinvite you :)

Patrick said...

The Lib Dem's are about to embark on an exercise in shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic. They have nowhere to go.

The whole political zeitgeist on tax and spend has just changed firmly in the direction of value for money in public services. Brown is under desperate pressure to define who he is and what New Labour stand for - the 'vision thing'. Desperate because he has no new vision and can only offer more tax and more waste.

The Lib Dems have always been a 'none of the above' party with no clear philosophy. They need to find one and fast. This means that either the big government socialist wing or the libertarian free markets wing must die. Being the front end of a donkey grafted onto a horse's arse has no electoral appeal beyond a maverick few percent of voters.

The lefty wing is doomed because, as mentioned, the whole political arena is moving towards challenging the statist orthodoxy. 'Where's the money gone?'. Becoming more Arthur Scargill than Dennis Skinner is no kind of platform for anything other than political death.

That means that long term survival for the Lib Dems means becoming the true libertarian party - economically as well as socially. Some aspects of this such as saying No to ID cards will be easy. Some parts such as deep reform of the public sector will not.

The gorilla in the corner for the Lib Dems is that their base of activists and party members are all in the socialist corner.

If the only viable way forwards for the new leader is to amputate the party's base then what hope is there for them?

The Lib Dems are hopelessly and deservedly up the creek without a paddle. They will continue as nothing more than a fringe irritant to the real business of British politics.

Little Black Sambo said...

"... an hour long discussion about the LibDem leadership ..."
I've suddenly remembered something else I ought to be doing.

Anonymous said...

why can't i watch last night's show iain? no link?

David Lindsay said...

What does the Tory Right now owe Cameron? Nothing.

Wheraes Clegg is posh enough and right-wing enough to stop the shift in support to the Tories, and posh enough and right-wing enough to alienate those who have in recent years shifted to the Lib Dems from Labour.

To counter him, the Tories won't find anyone posher than Cameron, simply because no one possibly could be. But they'd have no trouble finding someone more right-wing. Cameron is finished.

simon said...

Bloody Hell- how much of this 'hugely exciting' LibbyDem leadership contest can we take?! I'm bored shi*less with it already! It apparently ends in December ( yep, the Libbies will probably elect ANOTHER Turkey)- what fun...

Man in a Shed said...

Just what is the point of the Lib Dems ? ( I keep asking this question in various forums.)

Anyone with a half truthful and honest answer should be drafted in as their leader straight away. Because the public haven't got a clue what the Lib Dems stand for.

Perhaps they should consider disbanding, or electing Chris Huhne (its much the same thing).

Anonymous said...

Party leaders have to satisfy parties' cravings to be both cowed beneath the leader but empowered above the common herd.

Anonymous 9:45 has a point.

Anonymous said...

please no more rubbish about teh lib-dems. guido, pb.com and your site Iain have been overtaken by this utter non-story. the libdems are nothing more than a fringe party on 10-15% vote share and going nowhere. please get back to exposing the disgraceful actions of our corrupt government..

Newmania said...

Celia Walden saw Milliband and Clegg clasped in passionate embrace.They are a bit worryingly alike aren`t they.

Oily Euro-fanatics...although I must admit noone is a vile as Milliband

Mountjoy said...

I agree with your post.

My view is that whoever takes over from Sir Ming should adopt traditional liberal democratic policies, rather than trying to occupy the “centre ground” which is already overcrowded, and win the votes of disaffected Labour supporters. I believe that this is the future for the Lib Dems, as very many of the southern seats (including almost certainly that of Chris Huhne) will be lost to the Conservatives.

exstaffer said...

I feel I must point out, as an ex party staffer that Mark Littlewood is not a reliable source of information on the LibDems. He was fired as head of the press office earlier this year after a string of bad behaviour, bad management and exercising poor judgement. He is an ex-Tory party member and not a long-term LibDem activist or supporter as he attempts to make out. He thinks he can get a job back if Huhne wins - he has already attached himself to that campaign. I hope if you interview him tonight you will ask him about his own position and authority to comment on any of this. He's on the make and not to be trusted. He is certainly not the sharp political mind he likes to present himself as, at all. To be fired by the LibDems you really really have to be bad!

jailhouselawyer said...

Point of order, you are advertising a 1 to 1 with Lord Archer tonight at 9pm on 18DS.

And, you are also advertising this at the same time on the same day "And at 9pm John Hemming MP (who is rumoured to want to stand) will join me on Vox Politix".

Which is it going to be?

Paul Walter said...

Newmania:
"What about a lower rate of income tax at low levels?"

What, something like a reduction of the basic rate of income tax to 16 pence in teh pound, would that be?

Brilliant idea. Why didn't the LibDems think of that! Fools!

"Must not copy Cameron".. you mean the new LibDem leader mustn't write the most right wing manifesto in modern British political history in 2005, then go all soft and wimpish in 2006 and then go back to being a "hit 'em hard" Tory right winger in 2007?

Is there really any chance of that?

Anonymous said...

I read Mr Hemming's "position statement", the thrust of which appeared to be that he was eminently qualified to lead the party because a) he had made a fortune as an entrepreneur, b) he was the member of a union (I believe this may be the Musician's Union) and b) he had spent most of his short parliamentary career as a single-issue politician sniping at just about every aspect of family law.

Mr Hemming, remember, is the author of the media-beloved nonsense theory that children are being "snatched" by social workers in order to allow them to hit government adoption targets. Hmmm.

Oh, and his statement also trumpets his success as a local councillor in Birmingham, where as far as the general public are concerned his most high-profile achievement seems to have been threatening to sue his own council's social workers for doing their duty. Mr Hemming took exception because the subject of that duty happened to be the child expected by the woman he had made pregnant (outside of his marriage).

Mr Hemming threw his oversized hat into the ring for leader once before, remember, at about the same time as he voted for himself in a national newspaper's Love Rat of the Year competition. What larks.

Yes, if the party really wants to disappear down the plughole permanently, I'd say Councillor Hemming is the man for job. Fortunately, I suspect most members have a great deal more sense than that.

Anonymous said...

@ Patrick

Spot on. Great post.

@ David Lindsay

Do have any idea how ridiculous you sound? The pipsqueak party has knifed its last pipsqueak leader and is about to elect another vacuous pipsqueak, and you've leaped to the conclusion that "Cameron is finished"? Grow up. I predict here and now that the Lid Dhimms will get absolutely slaughtered by the Tories at the election, via the devastating slogan "Vote Lib Dem - get Labour". It doesn't matter the rentboy cack on Mark Oaten's face what their stupid party's policies are, or who their head pipsqueak is. What matters is only the what the effect of voting Lib Dhimm will be. And it will be to either let in a Labour MP through the middle, or actually to elect a Lib Dhimm MP, who will then put Labour back in via a sleazy deal involving jobs for themselves.

So it looks like this:

Vote Labour - Get five more years of Labour
Vote Lib Dem - Get five more years of Labour
Vote Conservative - get rid of the Labour tapeworm.

The tide of opinion has turned decisively against Labour and every poll and survey shows that the gullible have finally cottoned on to the lies, waste and corruption. The Lib Dhimms simply get in the way of turfing this corrupt administration out of office.

That is why the whole Lib Dhimm leadership election is the most crushingly trivial sideshow, because it's simply about which nonentity gets to be knifed in 2010 by the last 12 or 15 of their MPs left in the House (assuming that leader manages to keep his own seat). And don't give me any of this twaddle about it being a psephological impossibility for Cameron to win, because the national swing is exaggerated in the marginals. It was a poll showing Labour would probably lose the lot of them that got the Big Broon Nose-Picking Bogie-Eater so frit. Much the same happened in 1979.

chris (m) said...

With all this new gene technology I don't suppose there is any chance of cloning Enoch Powell and bringing him back as the leader of a new reinvigorated LibDem party. Otherwise, frankly what is the point of them?

antifrank said...

So far as John Hemming or Julia Goldsworthy are concerned, my immediate reaction to both was "who?". I may be deluding myself but I like to think I'm well informed on political matters, and the last thing the Lib Dems need at the moment is a complete unknown.

There are five plausible candidates: Cable, Clegg, Huhne, Kennedy and Webb.

Cable would be Campbell Mark 2, someone respected in his own area of expertise but lacking the charisma or energy to revitalise the Lib Dems. It's hard to imagine him sparkling at PMQs either.

I agree with your post of the other day, that Charles Kennedy is the man for the job. Unfortunately, the Lib Dems appear to regard him as too damaged, so in practice he won't be selected. Which is a shame, because he would have given the Lib Dems the distinctive personality they are sorely lacking at the moment.

That leaves Clegg, Huhne and Webb. All three are barely known to the wider public, and the winning candidate will need to establish his personality with the general public fast or risk being consigned to the political dustbin in record time. Frankly, I don't think any of them are up to it, but Clegg has the best fighting chance.

wonderfulforhisage asks who could be the Heir to Brown, and the answer is Steve Webb. I have met Steve Webb, and he's a smashing guy, the sort of guy that Gordon Brown would aspire to present himself as. I very much doubt whether Steve Webb could communicate his personality through the mass media, but if he could, he could present himself as the serious moral left of centre candidate that Gordon Brown has presented himself as until recently.

However, I really don't think this election is going to change anything. With the Tories resurgent and Labour still with considerable electoral underpinning, the room for any third party is scant. Unless either the Tories or Labour foul up in the coming months, the Lib Dems can look forward to serious decline at the next election, whoever is in charge.

gordon self destructs said...

Another drubbing for Brown at PMQ's. Cameron's cruelly finessing him , exposing his temper and peevishness.

disagree said...

Brown certainly sounded spiteful and arrogant, but I think it will be written up as "confident" and "in command" by the sycophantic press

Anonymous said...

A stream of semi coherent stuttering, gibberish and nonsense is pouring forth from Browns mouth. He's resorted to his usual trick of waffling and quoting figures, with regular reference to the Conservatives IHT changes.

Completely lacking in confidence - the mans a complete loser.

Anonymous said...

Re ANTIFRANK @ 12.03 .Ye say you do not know Julia Goldsworthy. You bloo.y would never forget her when youve seen her. Even Iain has said she would liven up the contest a bit. Poor Cornish Conservatives who now have to endure this in the local media.

David Lindsay said...

Anonymous 1;55 AM, how very rattled you clearly are.

You're the last person still denying outright that the Tories actually cannot win (the constituency map makes sure of that, pretty much regardless of the swings), so what matters for the Tories is what comes after the Election.

In order to sew that up, the Right is desperate to replace Cameron, and a Lib Dem revival in Tory or ex-Tory areas would be more than the excuse it needs.

If you despise the Lib Dems so much, then why are you pro-Cameron? He's a Lib Dem.

antifrank said...

anonymous 12.35 - I'm afraid I bat for the same team as Iain, and so Ms Goldsworthy's charms would be entirely lost on me.

Anonymous said...

If Clegg wins we could see a major shift in political allegiance and power- the first in a century. Brown is a loser, and this will exercise minds for the biggest ground change in political voting. And if girl power Julia Goldsworthy gets it,-- well anything is possible.

stuttering sneerer said...

Brown is so out of his depth it's shocking, what dire commons performer , his sneering combined with his stuttering is grotesquely self-defeating.

He acts like an incoherent rank amateur on the ropes from the very start.

Ruinous!

Ethelred the Unhinged said...

It is obvious from your coverage that the Lib Dems matter very much indeed.

That being the case, so much enemy advice is an impertinence bordering on hubris.

"Lib Dems must not do this. Lib Dems must do that."

Back off, Pipsqueak.

squirming said...

Brown appears ill-prepared, or does he just lose the plot under pressure?

Anonymous said...

Partick ,10.28

- good - just about sums it up .

The other point to empasise is that Brown's electoral instinct sai to him that they were going to get hammered by rather more than 6% in the marginals

this has not been fully shown in the stats

David Lindsay said...

Brown can be as "out of his depth" as he likes at PMQs.

The Tories are never going to get the 11-point lead necessary for an overall majority of one, and huge numbers of people in the areas where they have to win seats (Scotland, Wales, the North and the Midlands) now think that they are financially dependent on a Labour Government. They are not, because Cameron is fully signed up to the present levels both of public sector employment and of social security. But they think that they are, and Cameron is not in a position to tell them otherwise.

Meanwhile, down in the West Country, will the last Tory to lose his seat to a Lib Dem please turn off the light, especially if Fred is to be believed and locally-based right-wing Independent candidates are in the offing even in ex-Tory seats already held by the Lib Dems?

You are going to pile up enormous majorities in South-Eastern seats that you already hold anyway. But so what?

Anonymous said...

Huhne looks to me like a fruitcake. Clegg, another boy.

Anonymous said...

Ladbrokes are offering 16.1 to Goldsworthy. Things are hotting up. Iain was right.

Anonymous said...

Re david lindsay @;12:52. I dont think the tories have any seats in cornwall and all the lights are switched off. Iain said Goldsworthy will set the place aLIGHT.

phenomenally , absurdly bad said...

When are the men in grey suits going to come for Gordon ?

Just how bad is he at PMQ's? It defies description!!!!!!

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Antifrank says that Charles Kennedy would give the Lib Dems

"the distinctive personality they are sorely lacking at the moment."

That personality being somebody who is regularly incapacitated due to drink. Somebody who gets arrested for sticking his head out of a train window for a crafty fag because he cannot go a couple of hours without one.

This is somebody whose non-appearance at an awards ceremony that he was due to present was put down to "difficulties with the script" by a close aide. (The difficulty being he was too pissed to read the autocue).

For Goodness' sake, just because he is funny on HIGNFY and livens things up on the Daily Politics does not make him a LEADER.

When will you people wake up and realise that we need statesmen not piss-head end-of-the-pier comedians.

Fred said...

Cornwall has always been politically independent and liberal. Right wing conservative candidates standing at the next election will not be a new idea as they traditionally have the balance of power at district level.

Oscar Miller said...

Brown appears ill-prepared, or does he just lose the plot under pressure?

October 17, 2007 12:44 PM


I got the impression the back benchers had been given a three line whip to cheer him on, which they dutifully did, no doubt having been berated for their poor showing last week. Didn't cover up the abysmal performance tho'. Let's face it Brown just doesn't cut it - and PMQs exposes this.

Did he really, actually just say that? said...

Brown made it all clear, the blame lies with his lack of investment in the Health Service.


He's magnificent!

David Lindsay said...

Anonymous 1:00 PM, but you won't get back in until you do have seats in Cornwall, among many other places where you used to have them and now you don't. So you won't get back in, full stop. You are now even facing disaffected right-wing Independents there. And not just there, I bet.

They might love Cameron in the South East (although the Bromely and Chislehurst byelection didn't seem to bear out even that), but they don't anywhere else. And it's everywhere else that you have to win seats. In fact, they don't love, like or remotely identify with the Tories at all anywhere else.

At best, they will vote for Tory local councillors who are just like the right-wing Independents planning to keep the Lib Dems in in Cornwall, and who might very well turn out to be the right-wing Independents in their own home constituencies come the General Election. But even then, we are only talking about areas that used to be safe Tory just as a given.

Brown knows this, which is why he couldn't care less about PMQs.

did he just say what I thought he did? said...

Did he really?

Michael Crick picked up on Brown's 'lack of investment in the Health Services' gaffe on the Daily Politics. Yes, he really did say it.

Anonymous said...

Why shouldn't the Lib Dems copy Cameron? Cameron is copying Lib Dems, for instance regarding IT and environment taxes

Letters From A Tory said...

Julia would benefit from a bit of media exposure so that people start talking about her, which is not the case outside political circles. I've heard quite a few people mention Susan Kramer as well. It would be fascinating to see the Lib Dems with a strong, dynamic female leader.

Oscar Miller said...

Oh dear I just heard Roy Hattersley saying that Brown did really well at PMQs. Is this really going to be the verdict of the press? Bad is the new good. Does it really matter how catastrophic he is - if his cronies in the press make out he did well?

gordon brown said...

I blame my own lack of investment in the Health Services.

Stephen Glenn said...

Newmania above said 'Clegg is not English of course so he won`t understand'

This must be news to Buckinghamshire residents everywhere. Has this most English of counties sided with Alex Salmond in a bid for independence.

I will try and sign this to Alex next time he pulls alongside me in his ministerial limo.

Anonymous said...

How can any Lib Dem copy Cameron; all our candidates have actually had a proper job at some point in their lives!

antifrank said...

Wrinkled weasel, the Lib Dems don't have any statesmen. So a piss-head end-of-the-pier comedian may well be the best that they can manage for now.

Newmania said...

The Tories are never going to get the 11-point lead necessary for an overall majority of one,

David ..Lindsay . They had enough for a majority this weekend so you are talking utter balls ...trust you recall the advice about being in a hole and digging.



Stephen Glen - His father is Russian, his mother Dutch his wife Spanish and he went to Westminster and Cambridge ( international centres of eduucation) before scurrying abroad for an EU internship to use his many fluent languages .


He does not , shall we say , have deep roots , and not unnaturally is unable to understand why this soggy patch of land might be important to some of us.

I `m sure he is delightful company over a skinny latte in Brussels or in a Mid European train sipping Creme De Menthe . He does not however drink or smoke and helped ruin pubs by banning smoking for others which he supports.

He is a strong pro European


Shudder

beachfreak said...

I hope they go for the chick, a nice young sort would brighten up pmqs and newsnight etc no end.

And it'd put a stop to all the bloody misogyny in the corridors of power. Er.

Yum. Any chance of a pic of this lass?

David Lindsay said...

"They had enough for a majority this weekend"

They didn't. No Election was "cancelled", as the BBC would have it - there was never going to be one, and the media might now think twice about demanding such a thing and then banging on until they get it. They aren't going to get it.

Political journalists have to pretend that the Tories can win or what would be the point? What would they have to write or broadcast about? But that doesn't make it true. It isn't. Anyone who says it is, is either lying or simply cannot add up.

Newmania said...

They did becase they were ahead in the marginal seats . It was on this effect , by the way , that caused the election to be cancelled. Its easy and if the majority is only 1 it does not matter if the popular vote is huge .


But you go on digging ...

David Lindsay said...

No, Newmania, you carry on digging. That there was going to be an Election this year was only ever pure fantasy, and that the Tories can win one at any time will now only ever be pure fantasy.

Anyway, since a Cameron Government would be exactly the same as a Brown one politically, why care? Unless you really do believe that, out of two politically identical candidates for Prime Minister, the one who went to Eton and Oxford should automatically win?

Peter Hitchens was spot on this Sunday, when he said that the media's rooting for Cameron was like their former rooting for Tim Henman: they know he's not going to win, but, hell, they have to report something, and what else is there?

The Tories might be the immediate losers out of all of this, but Labour will not long survive it either. Labour is kept going by the fear of a Tory bogeyman. But if the Tories not only wouldn't change a thing politically, but actually cannot win anyway because the constituency boundaries have been used to rig the Election against them, then what is the point of the Labour Party? Why stay in it? Sooner rather than later, that penny will drop.

M. Hristov said...

Another "Brown Bomber" at PMQs. Terrible delivery of the Arnold Schwarzenegger 'gag'. Confusion over health spending and his own PPS screaming at 'Gorbals Mick' so much that he was told off. Cameron statesmanlike but stronger on Europe than health. Cable visibly nervous. Brown only really came alive when defending his old mate "Ming" Campbell."Ming" to expect a top international job soon. As for Brown "Hasta La Vista, Baby." to quote the terminator.

David Lindsay said...

We've been though why Brown needn't, and doesn't, care how he comes across at PMQs. But when even the Daily Mail is writing his performance thus: http://broganblog.dailymail.co..uk/2007/10/normal-service-.html - well, he REALLY doesn't have anything to wrry about, does he?

brown down said...

mr. hristov

Brown called William Hague the Foreign Secretary today (freudian slip or what?) and in a bizarre and rare moment of self criticism blamed the dire state of the NHS on himself and 'lack of investment'.

He's the gift that keeps on gaffing/giving for the Tories

Anonymous said...

Re-introduction of Fox Hunting.

Anti EU and Anti European sentiments.

Tax cuts for the Rich.

Abandoning Green Issues.

Don’t worry Iain the Lib Dems will not be copying Camera Ons lurch to the right.

brown bombed said...

David Lindsay

Are you entirely innocent of the relationship between Dacre and Brown?

Or just disingenuous ?

Madasafish said...

Hmm..
Trying to prove Black is White
or
Brown is capable

has now become an artform I see.

Like most artforms, it dulls very quickly with repetition. It's also insulting readers' intelligence (yes we have some)

deep down Gordon's shallow said...

The Schwarzenegger joke was embarrassing. I can hardly bear to watch Brown stumble and bumble his way through PMQ's.


What an ineffectual DUD of a leader.

Stephen Glenn said...

Oh dear Newmania getting xenophobic to the extreme. At least unlike a former leader born of immigrant stock he was born in England. So may have more understanding about it that the Welsh born son of a Romanian shopkeeper, step forward Michael Hecht.

Also while to attempt to make my name more Scottish I'm proud of my Irish ancestry as is my party so I'll retain the two Ns if you don't mind.

Oluseun said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David Lindsay said...

Neither, Brown Bombed. Most Mail readers, on the other hand...

And the Telegraph hates Cameron as well, of course.

Come the Election, it is now as inconceivable that they might say "Vote Cameron" as that they might say "Vote Brown". In fact, the latter is marginally more likely. What if they said "Vote UKIP or abstain"? They seriously might. And then where would the Tories be?

Anonymous said...

Sonic Death Monkey, (bet you had trouble living down that one at school. Parents, eh?).

Please note the plural of Tory is Tories. Let me know if you need a lesson in basic grammar, apostrophes, etc.

Miss Pedantic

Sonic's Friend said...

Anonymous, your brackets let you down, unfortunately. One must not insert a comma, then a sub-clause within parentheses, and then close them and follow with a full stop.

Just concentrate on being a numpty, and wait for the title of "Miss Pedantic" to be bestowed by those among us empowered to do so.

Your ever-suffering supremacist,
etc.

WTF! said...

David Lindsay really is a waste of cyber-space. A typically delusional Labour astro-turfer.

finlay said...

Apart from the stammering, the sneering, the calling William Hague the Foreign Secretary gaffe , decrying the 'lack of investment' in Health Services gaffe, and the Schwarzenegger joke that clunked and died in painful embarrassing silence I thought Gordon Brown did well today.

Anonymous said...

It's a measure of the Lib Dems' eternal irrelevance that until today nobody had ever heard of these "leading candidates for the leadership".

At least in the old days they had Cyril Smith and Clement Freud.

Sonicdeathmonkey said...

Anon 6.15

I really don't give a flying toss..This is the internet and we are above such silly things as grammar.

And my name isn't as silly as anon. Still, at least you wrote some good poems.

Anonymous said...

Sonic's Friend said...
"Anonymous, your brackets let you down, unfortunately. One must not insert a comma, then a sub-clause within parentheses, and then close them and follow with a full stop."

Neither must one scatter commas around; e.g. before 'and'.

Iain Dale said...

Jailhouselawyer at 11.50am. Finally, finally, you caught me out. Well done.

Anonymous said...

Nobody should be elected as LibDem answer to Cameron. They should just concentrate on choosing the best person. Which may or may not be Nick Clegg.

Anonymous said...

Sure, it's the Mail, but ... et tu, Hemming? http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=488215&in_page_id=1770

David Lindsay said...

I may an astroturfer, wtf!, but I 'm not a Labour astroturfer. See:

http://davidaslindsay.blogspot.com/2007/10/british-peoples-alliance-just-released.html

http://davidaslindsay.blogspot.com/2007/10/british-peoples-alliance-party-of_5260.html

http://davidaslindsay.blogspot.com/2007/10/british-peoples-alliance-party-of_05.html

http://davidaslindsay.blogspot.com/2007/10/british-peoples-alliance-party-of.html

http://davidaslindsay.blogspot.com/2007/10/on-target.html

and http://davidaslindsay.blogspot.com daily.

The project set out there could, if we can find the candidates (and there's plenty of time), reasonably expect the support of at least one national newspaper. See if you can guess which one. First contact has been more than made.

Actually, now that I think about it, my prediction yesterday about the Mail and the Telegraph encouraging abstention might very well come to pass. If the outcome of an Election can change nothing, then why vote? But if mass abstention can kill off one party in such a Election in the hope of replacing it with something better in time for the next one, killing off the other party sooner or later as a result of losing its defining bogeyman, then why not?

As for the Lib Dems being irrelevant, I carry no candle for them, but everyone outside the South East (i.e., everyone where Elections are actually won and lost) knows that a hung Parliament is much more likely than a Tory victory. And I assume that everyone in the South East knows that if the Tories hold on at all, then it will be by means of a bitter, vicious campaign against the Lib Dems, with whom they then could not conceivably go into coalition. So the Lib Dems have far more chance of being in government than the Tories have.

Newmania said...

At least unlike a former leader born of immigrant stock he was born in England.

Really Mac Glen of the Glen, he was probably also born in Lib Dem birthing pool . Does this make him a fish ?