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.
I listened to Mathew Parris's excellent Podcast from the LibDem comference having been pointed to it from one of your earlier posts.
I have voted Tory in every local and national election since 1959 but have been considering abstaining in the future because of the spivery and spin of the current Blair-lite Conservative contol freak leadership.
In the past the LibDems seemed to me to be a collection of buffoons and bearded weirdoes. Having heard Parris's piece I've changed my mind. I like the fact that they seem prepared to debate policy and develop it to harmonise with their beliefs and principles rather than following the latest focus group. In a word they seem as an organisation to be exhibiting integrity.
I'd certainly prefer Ming to 'follow the focus' Dave as the resident of No. 10. He does appear to be "a pretty straight sort of guy".
The LibDems are a bit like tribute band arent they ?
Not quite as good as the real thing but good for a laugh.
I don't thikn he'll be there at the next election. He's IDS, out of step with the times. Sure, a huge amount of effort can be expended to stage manage a satisfactory conference, but politics moves fast and is moving faster.
The Lib Dems will surely (rightly) panic in a year or so and he'll be out. Two or three more bad PMQs sessions and he's in dire trouble again.
Lib Dems are inclusive. they'll take in alcoholics, users of rent boys, apologists for terrorism, people who wish to tax cars until people cannot afford to buy them and so on. It must feel super being amongst such tolerant and lovely people, driven by well meant beliefs.
The leadership lost the vote on the local government policy, even their council chief rejected it.
I commented in one of the earlier postings that he's the best thing the other two parties have going.
Ming's an able and intelligent man but he's at the helm of his party just as it's entering a period of irrelevance.
For the last 20 years the Lib Dems have been acting as a sort of political ballast for the other two parties - dragging Labour back from the far-left in the mid to late 80's and checking the rightwards drift of the Tories in the late 90's. Blair's premiership and Cameron's ascendancy are evidence of how well they've fulfilled that function.
However, things have moved on and it will be increasingly difficult for them have any relevance in the next 3-5 years.
For someone who claims to believe in "real liberalism" he seems to be in the wrong party. The liberalism of the Lib Dems seems to include a lot of statism.
There was a rebellion on the English Local government policy. It was referred back. Yes, I know. Yawn!
And a very minor technical rebellion on the status of ALDES.
Ming is an idiot albeit a useful one.
`For the last 20 years the Lib Dems have been acting as a sort of political ballast for the other two parties - dragging Labour back from the far-left in the mid to late 80's and checking the rightwards drift of the Tories in the late 90's.`
……….. and now they are proposing tax cuts interesting that . I do hope you are right that they are a corrective to the system . At the moment the Conservative Party and (the old) Liberal Party are like the pigs and the men at the men of Animal farm . Indistinguishable
It think Cameron is all froth & no beer & that Huhne would have wiped the floor with him but Ming is a stuffed shirt capable of looking senatroial but thats about it.
Nice to Ming?
Have you forgotten Bromley?
Shower of five-aitch-one-teas.
What ever the upper-middle class public school ethos is-I don't think it is "zeitgeist".
The polls?Is David Cameron a nice chap?Well I suppose he is.
Iain, I think I have now decided that you are a cut-above a large number of the other bloggers.
This isnt simply because you give quite a balanced and relatively complementary blog about the speech, but actually because you havent just written polemic nonsense that takes no account of what actually took place.
Take Kerron Cross's rant, which was predictable and he may as well have written an hour before the speech.
Nice one Mr Dale.
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