Monday, October 15, 2007

From a LibDem Insider...

I just received this very informative email from a LibDem insider, whose views I respect.
I suspect much of this is 'on the money'. Obviously Clegg and Huhne
will be the front runners. Despite the spat with Elspeth at conference, it is
very much the wish of the out-going leader that Clegg should win and there was
talk that the timing of Ming's resignation would be whatever most favoured
Clegg's chances. One factor is the public attitude to Cameron. After all, Clegg
is seen by many as our version of Dave. When Cameron was tanking in the polls -
during Gordon's honerymoon - there was little chance that Clegg would get
elected - after all, good looking young men just weren't flavour of the month
then. But now all has changed and so Clegg is on a high. However, this could
change. If Gordon comes back strongly against Cameron the expect Clegg stock to
fall. At the end of the day, this will simply be a contest where only Clegg and
Huhne can win. But they will not be the only challengers. The 'left' will feel
it has to put someone up. The more credible they are, the more that Huhne will
be hurt. After all, he is seeking to tack left and so pick up the bulk activist
vote. If a bampot like Norman Baker put up then no danger to Huhne. But I
understand that Steve Webb - he of the five brains - has the support to stand
and will throw his hat in the ring. The only other consideration is whether a
woman can be persuaded to run. If that happens then is will be La Teather -
although she is despised by so many in the parliamentary party and so may not
get enough votes to be nominated. Vince will not run. Neither will Ed Davey as,
although he wants the job, he was the Chief of Staff to Ming and will be tarred
by that relationship. A final thought - although Ming controlled the timing of
his resignation, the timetable for the election is decided by the Federal
Executive. Simon Hughes is the President of the Party and chairs that body. I
understand that there was quite some row going on between the Clegg-ites (who
want it all as quick as poss) and the Huhn-istas (who want things taken a little
slower. Simon will not be a candidate.

Interesting stuff.

UPDATE: James Graham has an interesting ARTICLE on CiF with the subheadline "Some Lib Dems may be calling for a new leader, but the party's problems predate Ming. To improve, we must change some of our core policies." The article was posted an hour and a half before Ming resigned.

UPDATE: More analysis from Dan Hannan HERE. Clegg and Huhne were with him in the European Parliament.


Anonymous said...

Ming's resignation letter:

When I was elected Leader of the Party in March 2006 I had three objectives. First, to restore stability and purpose in the party following my predecessor’s resignation and the leadership campaign itself, second to make the internal operations of the party more professional, and third to prepare the party for a General Election.

With the help of others, I believe that I have fulfilled these objectives, although I am convinced that the internal structures of the party need radical revision if we are to compete effectively against Labour and the Conservatives.

But it has become clear that following the Prime Minister’s decision not to hold an election, questions about leadership are getting in the way of further progress by the party.

Accordingly I now submit my resignation as Leader with immediate effect.

I do not intend to hold a press conference or to make any further comment.

Yours sincerely,

Menzies Campbell
Leader, Liberal Democrats

Anonymous said...

Daniel Hannan's analysis is incisive, as always. Although the fact that both key candidates for the leader's job have been in the European Parliament should disqualify them, in my opinion, as they are unlikely to have much belief in the pre-eminence of Parliament.

Anonymous said...

'no press conference' - I bet he is spitting tacks !!!

Anonymous said...

I bet he is already on the train back to Scotland as we speak...

so who will share the train journey with El Gordo now ?

Anonymous said...

Brown will be next.

Anonymous said...

Jeremy Browne looks very impressive.

Anonymous said...

i have to admit Nick Clegg has got one heck of a c.v.. He's done a lot of interesting work before he became an M.P.

André said...


Anonymous said...

Iain, what are the odds of bringing back Lord Ashdown. The man is a colossus! Plus it would be great to have a party run from the Lords!

Anonymous said...

According to AlBeeb they are saying that Cable says Mingy is a victim of ageism, now one of Labours many laws ageism has been illegal
will Mingy take the LibDum party to task over this,like taking it to an employment tribunal.

Anonymous said...

One must have a heart of stone to read the resignation letter of Sir Menzies Campbell without laughing.

Ross said...

I think the door is now open for a Mark Oaten comeback.

Newmania said...

God he sounds like an utter arse to me . ( Clegg). He has done nothing expect creep his way up the gravy train, I may be able to forgive Cameron but the combination of pointless insiderism and wet lettuce nothing views is a bit much . What is the point of Nick Clegg. He leads a Party that cannot win and he holds no views in particular about what it should either be doing or achieving .

You have that odd feeling that Liberals are just a Franchise for local gripes and the lifetime professionals that run the thing have nothing to do with the activists . Somehow I find this forgivable ina Conservative as we are less perfectionists . Just as I have no problem with Cameron fiddling the school system but I do with Emily Thornberry.

For all this they do have some good ideas . I wonder if this Clegg is someone we can ally against brown with …and it will surely be Clegg. Incidentally I saw him on Question time . For a Liberal he sounds quite reasonable , . By normal standards he’s just dull though.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it interesting. Only a few hours after everyone starts talking about Clegg and Huhne, the name of Steve Webb comes to he forefront. He's the dark horse; an activist favourite (a veteran of the rubber chicken circuit) and a mighty intellect as well as being youthful and presentable. More likely to give Cameron a run than the other two who just seem to be his older and younger brothers.

Anonymous said...

How safe are Huhne and Clegg's seats?

Anonymous said...

I'm not exactly sure what a "bampot" might be, but I respect Norman Baker far more than I do any of the other t*ssers.

Anonymous said...

Type in "Chris Huhne" into Google and the first hit is the registered "" one can accuse these Lib Dem's of moving slowly this evening.

strapworld said...

Brown will now offer Ming a job, which he will accept!

For the Tories sake I hope Huhne gets it he is a real sh1t!

Charlie will not, sadly, get a look in whilst I agree with Iain's assessment.

Now is the time for Cameron to go on a roadshow with Boy George and others and show they do really mean bottom up politics. That will ensure
greater support.

Do not let the Lib Dems have months of free publicity. Now is the hour for action by the Tories.

Anonymous said...

Well with the LibDem's unerring capacity for self destruction it looks like the vertically and aesthetically challenged Sarah Teather will win.

Duncan Borrowman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Clegg and Huhne are both Old Westminsters. Splendid.

Duncan Borrowman said...

"...but in alphabetical order I think the ones who will make it over the nomination threshold to go forward to the members will be:
Nick Clegg, Chris Huhne and Steve Webb.
Plus one woman (they need to decide among themselves who is going to go for it) out of Lynne Featherstone, Susan Kramer and Julia Goldsworthy."

Anonymous said...

Both Lembit Opik and Mark Oaten have already come out for Clegg tonight.

They move quickly these Lib Dems.

Anonymous said...

If a woman does stand, it won't be Teather. Goldsworthy or Featherstone are more likely.

CityUnslicker said...

Mister Scruff - Nick clegg has never had a non-political job in his life. No doubt it has all been planned since school for him.

Where is the lib dem leader who has had a real job?

I want Sarah teather to win as she has my utmost admiration for here amazing skills in areas to numerous to even list. Vote teather I say.

I am considering joining the lib dems to vote of this issue; if about 5 of us do this it should be enough to swing the vote as I understand it. My vote will go to the winner of my poll

Anonymous said...

Vince Cable hasn't ruled himself out on Newsnight.
In America, he would walk it over the pygmies around him.

Anonymous said...

Politics can be very brutal; according to tonight's Telegraph Gordon Brown is now facing a coup of his own :

'Labour big guns set to turn on Gordon Brown'
Disgruntled supporters are "preparing a campaign of attacks on Gordon Brown's premiership and his "lack of vision", it can be disclosed.

strong allies of the former prime minister, have been approached by other Labour MPs in the wake of a series of political setbacks for Mr Brown, including his decision to call off a planned general election and his mauling from David Cameron last week in the Commons."

Paul Linford said...

Interesting that your insider doesn't mention Kennedy.

I would expect the candidates to be Clegg, Goldsworthy, Huhne and Webb.

AloneMan said...

So according to this insider, the LDs are simply going to elect whoever is "flavour of the month" (that month being December) with no consideration as to what might be in the long-term interests of the party.

The trouble is, I believe him.

No matter who you vote for, this kind of back-stabbing and short-term leader positioning is not good for politics in this country. politics needs maturity, common sense and stability.

Anonymous said...

Vince Cable was in a group of people who hung around a coffee bar called the "spick and span" in York, in the early 1960's. He had a skiffle group called "Vince Cable and the Hotwires" and regularly appeared at the Zarf and the Mandrake Clubs, also in York doing Johhny Kidd and Vince Taylor covers.

Anonymous said...

This does not enamour me to the Lib Dems. Even though I disagree with her politics I cannot see how anyone decent can despise Sarah Teather. She was a decent, intelligent, likeable woman. She had not a jot of nastiness in her - a failing in politics I am sure, but not to be despised.

Anonymous said...

Both Campbell and Ashdown are victims of Cameron's success.Virtually all the seats the LDs won since 1997 have been gained from the Tories.I doubt anyone the LDs come up with will change much.The LDs have been a two trick pony:Iraq and 'if you don't like the Tories vote for us'.Neither of those tricks carry the same electoral advantage they once did.

Anonymous said...

" I cannot see how anyone decent can despise Sarah Teather. She was a decent, intelligent, likeable woman."

Anyone who has had the experience and misfortune of campaiging locally against the LDs will be pissing their pants that anyone could use the terms 'likeable and decent' to describe ANY lib dem.

Anonymous said...

Lembits baxked Clegg. Thats it, its Huhne to win.

Anonymous said...

"Both Lembit Opik and Mark Oaten have already come out for Clegg tonight."

Considering Lembit's endorsement track record in the last leadership campaign that's Clegg ferked then.

Is he a secret agent for Huhne?

Anonymous said...

Ming's going (in a huff in his Edinburgh townhouse) as UK leader.

Lembit's standing down as Welsh party leader.

German says he'll be going next year as leader of the Liberal Democrats in the Welsh Seannad.

Anyine see a pattern emerging here?

Must mean that Nicol Stephen is going to go next.

Nicol who you say?

This might help.

Or this .

Or this .

Sabretache said...

What's the difference between an 'ite' and an 'ista'?

Madasafish said...

I can't get excited.
As a voter, the LibDems manage to combine original and interesting ideas with complete impracticality and lunacy.

An engaging combination but not a vote winner.

Anonymous said...

Ming is obviously a decent individual trapped in a party of nasties.

For the Lib-Dems sake, the only person they should elect is Clegg who has the skill and charisma to take on Cameron.

AnyoneButBrown said...

What a set of poor choices for their leader:
- Huhne who is a world-class hypocrite with a colourful business career and personal life (see :
and read the amusing paragraphs about him.
- Clegg who as far as I'm aware hasn't really done anything politically other than by accident of birth be relatively young, look good and speak articulately. He's also a fully paid-up member of the political elite (Westminster, Euro MP, SpAD) and will crowd the LibDems onto the policy pin-head alongside Cameron and Brown. For some reason all columnists think Clegg is the savior.
- Kennedy who actually may help the LibDems recover in the polls as Iain suggests has two deadly disadvantages. 1. His credibility is shot after he lied about his alcoholism 2. He still (as far as I'm aware) likes a drink. Leadership of the LibDems is hardly going to help him overcome his addiction!
What about electing someone like Norman Baker. OK he looks a bit mad, but he is absolutely genuine, honest and has huge personal integrity. He is not a paid-up member of the political elite, and his views are surely far more in touch with the LibDem rank n' file than Clegg or Huhne. He would make a refreshing change.
But knowing the LibDems, they'll elect Huhne as the media clamors for Clegg. Clegg n' Laws will then join the Tory party. You heard it here first!

Anonymous said...

Not the best of news for the Conservatives on the face of it. They would have preferred the LibDems to limp on with Ming at their head to the inevitable electoral oblivion.

But faced with those circumstances the LibDems had no choice and had I been in their shoes I would have done exactly the same and given Sir "Ming" the option of going with good grace and plaudits in public or face being pushed out. Nobody knows which of the two it was although perhaps the signs are there that it may not have been the former despite the party elders being wheeled on the TV to state otherwise.

However, perhaps the one to really worry in all of this is Brown who faced with the younger Cameron and possibly Nick Clegg will start to look jaded and "yesterday's man" particularly when the election is called in 2009. However Gordon will NEVER be forced out of the leadership unless he loses the election. The party knows that if it came to it he would split the party before allowing that to happen. If it had been otherwise they would have stood in his way of succeeding Blair without murmur or dissent.

Whoever the LibDems elect as leader Labour can no longer be sure of winning a future election so easily as the last three contests and the spectre of a "hung parliament" is a distinct possibility

David Lindsay said...

There is now (indeed, there has long been) a gap in the market for a party which genuinely represents the views of people in places like the North of Scotland, the South of Scotland, Mid-Wales, the West Country, and such pockets elsewhere as Berwick, and North Norfolk.

The Eurofederalist, anti-family, pro-crime and pro-drugs Lib Dems were never that party, any more than the Eurofederalist, anti-family, pro-crime and pro-drugs Cameroons (including the Blairobite insurrectionists within New Labour) could ever be that party.

And isn't it grand how the two frontrunners to succeed Ming both went to the same public school?

Windsor Tripehound said...

Huhne's majority at the last election was 568, and UKIP polled 1,669.

Selecting him as leader would seem to be a bit of a risk, to put it mildly!

Anonymous said...

What i'd like to know iain is the individual who slipped you that briefing as vacuous as the briefing itself? Virtually no mention of WHAT is required to make the Libbies (cough splutter) credible/principled/believable. I know political manouvering is inevitable but no mention in the brief of WHO would be the best candidate for the job. Tut Tut.

Mike Wood said...

Not for the first time, Dan is spot on.

I've yet to meet anyone who has worked with Chris Huhne who has anything like as high an opinion of him as he has of himself.

Anonymous said...

if they are looking for a woman to be pushed forward then I'd be putting my money on Goldsworthy before Teather.

But isn't it fun watching them implode? If they go for Clegg then they might take some tory votes off Dave, but run the risk of the "why not just vote tory?" conundrum. If they go for a leftist SD they are running diametrically opposite to the zeitgeist and heading for [even greater plains of] electoral wilderness.

Cable will be seen by many as having Ming's chief failing (age) without his chief bonus (sophistication) and - in any case - by appearing alongside Hughes the Knife on tv now looks a little too much like a consiglieri to be a capo.

Hah!Can't wait!

Anonymous said...

The world waits for bated breath to find out which pipsqueak gets to be leader of the LibDhimms until shortly after the next election.

Bunnies can and will go to France!

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:58 15/10

I knew Sarah at university - my girlfriend was one of her closest friends. I presume as you generalise then you don't know Sarah herself.

I agree that there is a viscious edge to "Liberal Demorat" politics (I generally put the quotes in, as they are neither liberal nor democratic). However that is hardly a reason for one of them to despise another, or for anyone to despise one individual unless you can show she was involved in the dirty campaigning the "LibDems" like so much. More likely to show that the one despised is in a minority as a decent person.

Newmania said...

Eurofederalist, anti-family, pro-crime and pro-drugs Cameroons

This is absolutely ridiculous David ...sounds to me as if you should be a Conservtave though

Newmania said...

Clegg n' Laws will then join the Tory party. You heard it here first!

Is that really a possibility . I see absolutely no reason why Cameron should not work with Clegg. Why should we always assume the Liberals are just socialists pklus sandals .Perhaps some of them still belive in Liberty ?

David Lindsay said...

Which of these things are the Cameroons not, Newmania? They are, in fact, Eurofederalists, anti-family, pro-crime and pro-drugs. They are by no means the only people like that. But they are like that all the same.

Anonymous said...

Which of these things are the Cameroons not, Newmania? They are, in fact, Eurofederalists, anti-family, pro-crime and pro-drugs.

That's a rather hackneyed rhetorical trick, David. As soneone who is broadly a supporter of DC; I'm not anti-family, but I'm not anti-gay or anti-single people, or anti-co-habiting couples either. Not thinking that heterosexual marriage* should grant you any special privileges does not mean one is 'anti-family.'

Likewise, believing that we lock up too many of our citizens (more than any other western European nation) does not make one 'pro'-crime. And, Cameron supporter though I be, I'm really quite euro-sceptic, and I think you'll find a few of his shadow ministerial team (Boris Johnson springs to mind, as does William Hague) are outspokenly of that view.

I am, however, pro-drugs. You're right on that one.

* heaven knows why, but your rhetoric leads me to believe that you wouldn't count a gay civil partnership that had adopted a child as a 'proper' family. I do apologise if I'm incorrectly prejudging you.