Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Ming Didn't Jump, He Was Pushed

So far the LibDem MPs seem to have successfully spun the line of "it wasn't us, guv". No, never let it be thought. Apparently Ming made his decision all on his little lonesome without any stabbing in the back at all. It does seem somewhat of a coincidence that he tendered his resignation shortly after both Simon Hughes and Vince Cable had, albeit obliquely, called his leadership into question.

We then have to ask ourselves: why did he flee to Edinburgh without making a statement to the cameras himself. There's no doubt that would have been the statesmanlike thing to do and would have also left the party feeling united. Instead, I reckon he just couldn't bear to look his colleagues in the face, and was persuaded by Lady Elspeth that they weren't worth the candle. So he scarpered and left them to it.

So let's not let the LibDems get away with the "it wasn't us, guv" line. It is transparently untrue.


Anonymous said...

Perhaps nobody told Sir Menses that he's resigned, and he just went home thinking all was well.

Bunnies can and will go to Edinburgh.

Did he have nodules all over his torso?

Anonymous said...

:rofl: at anonymous' comments!

i can just imagine ming sitting down for dinner in front of the evening news, to find he's resigned!

nothing would suprise me with the lib dems tho... :P

Mulligan said...

According to Lynne Featherstone on Daily Politics it was the nasty media wot done him in... Poor old Minz never recovered from his first bad PMQs and this was everyone else's fault. Oh that the latest, even worse, debut PMQs performance results in a similar fate, sooner rather than later please.

Anonymous said...

I don't think there's much capital to be made in going after a man when he's down, especially somebody seen as relatively decent like Sir Ming. It's fun, but it just looks juvenile to the electorate. Let him rest in peace and conserve our ammunition for the next bloke (or woman).

David Boothroyd said...

All the leading Lib Dems lied about Charles Kennedy, claiming he didn't have a drink problem. Now they're all lying about not knifing Menzies Campbell in the back. Good job that silly BBC 2 documentary idea of making it illegal for politicians to lie is not going to get enacted.

Richard Havers said...

And they think we'd trust them in government? It's endemic in the LibDems to behave this way, as they know full well they'll never be called to account or need to deliver. It's just a nice little earner being an MP.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

We are obsessed with presentation these days, so Ming did not stand a chance,from the first and frankly embarrassing PMQ's to his tortured visage, which always gave the impression that he was about to burst into tears.

David Cameron's boat race, by contrast, looks as if he has a council house facelift, and as befits his station it does not give a lot away.

Gordon grins and gurns like a baby with a finger up its bum.

They used to say that if television had been around for the 1932 Presidential election, Roosevelt would never have been elected.

Not a lot has changed, it seems.

Anonymous said...

His resignation letter to the pompous and vile Simon Hughes also says a lot.

"Yours Sincerly"

i thought MP's signed off

"Yours ever" ?

Anonymous said...

The title to this post asserts that Ming was pushed, but contains no revelation or additional evidence of any kind to support that statement.
You simply say that 'you reckon' the official version sounds fishy.
I do not know whether or not he was pushed, but clearly you don't either.
So cut out the dogmatic headlines, if you've nothing more than idle speculation to back them up!

Anonymous said...

Well, Vince cable on 'The Daily Politics' was a bit, how shall we say, 'Tom Kite'( cockney rhyming slang). He couldn't pay attention to Old Brillo Pad's questions and even Paddick was struggling to keep a straight face. Well, i was a Labour member until The Bliar told one too many during the david Kelly disgrace. I thought about which party to support next and thought about the Libbies! For a moment. They are a pointless party- not remotely 'liberal' in the slightest. I suspect after the Ming debacle a good many Libbies will be coming over to the conservatves.

Anonymous said...

Has Iain hit a nerve:

October 16, 2007 12:52 PM ??

As if Lib Dems care about the truth! Have you ever read a focus leaflet?

Anonymous said...

And 'nice' Simon Hughes up to arse in yet another Lib Dem Leaders blood.

Hughes really is the Grim Reaper for his own Party's Leaders but a moralising slimeball 24/7

It's like turning a stone in the garden and looking at the things that scuttle in the light....

Alex said...

Iain, we all know that part of the sport is to knife the loser in the back and then tell the cameras what a great guy/gal he/she is/was. That's how it works and those are the rules.

The position of leader of the LD's is a largely honorific one, giving little chance of substantial remuneration, and no likelihood of power, although the incumbent can expect to be teased by the two major parties from time to time.

Rather the leader has the opportunity to campaign on wet high street with the strident wimmin who pass for LD councillors, and from time to time share a cuppa with "activists" sharing the sort of bonhomie normally reserved for a safe set Tory MP in the shires and his constituents.

All in all, that it is scant reward for the abuse he was getting, so it is hardly surprising that he should have packed it in.

Curbishly said...

So let's not let the LibDems get away with the "it wasn't us, guv" line. It is transparently untrue

Having fought the Liberals in three local elections (and won) my considered opinion is that they are congenital liars.doon

Unsworth said...

He may have jumped or he may have been pushed, but what difference does it really make? If you're saying that the LibDems are a nasty shower of excreta - well you're probably right. But isn't this the game anyway?

Personally I'm more interested in the effect this has on the fortunes of the other parties. Watch out for Gordon's next blundering move to cosy up to the LibDems.

I'm actually quite sorry to see his demise. Once in a while Ming managed to upset the Government's apple cart. But he was no real leader of men (and others, in the case of the LibDems).

Unknown said...

Where is your evidence?

Scary Biscuits said...

I agree with anonymong 12.52: that it's certainly not 'transparently' untrue that Ming was pushed.

Looking at the body language of Cable and Hughes on Newsnight last night, I think they looked as stunned as everybody else. They didn't look like political murders fresh from doing the deed.

My own theory is that Ming just got fed up of the constant press sniping and was as horrified by his performance as much as his colleagues were. He resigned out of embarrassment and that explains why he scarpered so quickly.

Anonymous said...

Of course he was pushed. The LDs pushed him, collectively, because for some inexplicable reason they imagined that their poor poll showing (relative to recent exaggerated levels) was down to him, and that a new leader will magically elevate them to the level of public esteem they imagine they deserve.

Fools. Do they really think an Ed Balls lookalike (Clegg) or a Roswell alien lookalike (Huhne) will have them strolling airily through the corridors of power, waving loftily to millions of cheering voters? Single figure poll results and a complement of MPs sufficient to fill a London taxi would be more like the proper level.

Anonymous said...

Well, apparently Mike Hancock MP says that Ming the Jobless was "shafted by a shower of sh!ts". So it was Mark Oaten who did it...

I thank you

Anonymous said...

If the knifed Ming is sufficiently peeved with the Lib Dems, and Gordo still wants a government of all the talents, will he take a govt job???

Anonymous said...

Assuming Ming remains as an LD MP he better bloody well wait and see what his new leader thinks before scarpering off to Brown's big tent.

Sir Dando Tweakshafte said...

Blaming the media is only one step up from "some big boys did it, and ran away".

Seems not only GB treats the electors as fools.

(besides, everybody knows it was James Purnell, and I have the pictures to prove it...)

The Hitch said...

Dont forget the old chap has cancer

and although in remission, its a nasty one that comes back.

Anonymous said...

Iain, you're such a c*ck muncher.

Is it such a slow blogging day that you are forced to post a piece that claims to be the de facto version of events but is just gossip masquerading as such?

Anonymous said...

Honestly Iain, I thought Tories were supposed to join UKIP when you started to believe in conspiracy theories.
In reality, just like the movies, it was Flash Gordon who killed the Emperor Ming, but not calling an election.
After that, no knife, just death by misadventure, I'm afraid.

Anonymous said...

Brutus Cable has knifed two Lib Dem leaders – so far – and his Richmond councillor cohorts are just as nasty. I should know, I live in Brutus Cable’s constituency and am only too familiar with their negative campaigning tactics that include smears, personal attacks – and lies.

So – thank you Iain, let’s shout it from the proverbial rooftops - it’s official the Liberal Democrats are the New Nasty Party – to quote Kirsty Wark on last night’s Newsnight.

Newmania said...

I agreed with Shirley Williams for the first and , I suspect, last time . If all we are worried about is that he look old what sort of pathetic children are we all. I quite liked him, not averse to Cleggy either (except on Europe ). Simon Hughes ,however ,still sits in Bermondsey on the back of the vilest and most scabrous by election ever, in which he ran as the ,"Straight Choice, “ against Peter Tatchell"

Of course he Clegg and Buff knifed Ming... Clegg and Buff had already started their campaigns .

Clegg has his own problems . He is the son of Russian Banker and Dutch mother,a fluent multi-linguist and educated at Westminster, Cambridge and then Brussels internship. He has posted the usual apple for teacher articles in the Guardian en route . He has never had a real job or a real English life in any sense at all .He is a gilded gypsy internationalist with weed- shallow roots in the loam of England . He and his Spanish wife Gonzlaez Durantez ( not Clegg) can pitch up anywhere . We, however , have become attached to the drizzly beauty of the place over the last 1000 years . What right has he got to tell us what “we” should do when he does not accept there is a “we” and certainly does not belong to it For him “. THis man wants us to cease to be a country. Well he would .

Yes I begin to see what a fine man Ming was and he will be sadly missed , he towered above the Lillputian wasters that follow him.

So farewell then Ming....I wish I had not misjudged you while you were here

Mountjoy said...

I thought it was the media that did it.

Anonymous said...

ast night on newsnight both Simon Hughes and Vince Cable said "it was his own decision. When asked have you spoken to him they both replied no!! how do they know it was his decision when all they had was the letter!!

they knifed him no doubt.

antifrank said...

I would have thought Mike Hancock's observations on the subject were pretty definitive proof of your post.

NB Newmania, David Cameron used to write regularly for the Guardian.

Anonymous said...

kSomeone definitely stuck the knife in and I hope we get to find out who it was sooner rather than later. Simon Hughes definitely knows more than he's telling us.

Yak40 said...

The "experts" say a third party is necessary but does it have to be the Lib Dems ? I never quite saw the point of them from the start.

Anonymous said...

The lies and personal attacks that have been the bread and butter of Focus newsletters and their by election campaigns results in a pile of back stabbing mendacious MPs who know no other behaviour.

It is a throughly despicable party, one so bad even Lembit Opik states publicly that their campaigning is shameful.

Anonymous said...

How telling was Vincent 'Telegraph' Cable's response to the question 'Was he pushed?'.. "I don't think he was pushed... "

What you mean 'you don't think' ?

You should know ! You don't sound very sure of yourself !

Anonymous said...

Jamie - "sitting down for dinner in front of the evening news". How ghastly. Watching TV at the dinner table? Is that what you do at home?

Anonymous said...

Yak40 - Agreed.

neil craig said...

Come on Iain. Why are you so morally outraged that he would be pushed? The party is down to the point where, as you pointed out a few days ago, they would theoreticaly get zero seats at the next election. Even the LudDims are going to notice that.

My opinion is that it has relatively little to do with the leader & is largely about them giving up any claim to being economic liberals in their opposition to fre markets & any claim to sanity in their support for 100% renewables.

Garry said...

Unless you've got some actual evidence to back your "it's transparently untrue" claim, why should I believe you? Most respected commentators think he wasn't pushed directly and did indeed make his own decision. Hughes and Cable were clearly as surprised as everyone else by the decision.

As to alleged lack of support of his colleagues, when pressed by journalists they told the truth (which was then misrespresented). I know this is a radical concept for many politicians but there you are.

Your post is just opinion masquerading as fact, an exercise in opportunistic attack politics.

Anonymous said...

One of the most pathetic posts i have seen from you Iain, and that’s saying something. If there was a plot to oust him then why was the party stunned when he left?

Ming realised that he couldn’t lead the party if every single interview he did came back to (1) your too old and (2) when are you going to quit. Despite the fact we have come out with some quite radical policies they couldn’t get any airtime in that kind of environment.

I find it predictable but brainless that the media have tried to portray this as a case of Ming being pushed. It was the media that has brought this about by not giving him any sort of slack during his time as leader. Their drip, drip, drip campaign on the age thing was too difficult to counter. Interestingly they ran this campaign without any attacks from the opposition in the same vein.

Perhaps this turn of events is a reflection on his political attributes more than anything else, it’s difficult to blame the media (as someone else has pointed out) as they are a necessary evil. In this day and age a more media friendly public face is valued over experience and substance, sad but true.

Is all this that bad for the Lib Dems? Clegg in by Christmas and then he's free to talk about how different our policies are to the Lab/Con consensus without distraction. If I were Labour or Tory I would have wanted Ming to go into the next election as leader. Hopefully this will be a case of short-term pain but long term gain (or at least stability).

Newmania said...

Anne T Frank

NB Newmania, David Cameron used to write regularly for the Guardian.

I often read the Guardian and always the New Statesman, both good .I agree Clegg is a Cameron but Cameron has succeed despite his background , politically , can Clegg?
Seems a bit wet to me and he Liberals case is so contradictory its awfully hard not to appear "confused" and self serving

A Libertarian who voted to stop smoking and wants us ruled by Europe ? Eh ?

Reading Cleggs views I can`t see why he is not in the Conservative Party .He makes a lot of sense. I do not believe he really thinks we should sell the country to Brussels for no good reason and his opposition to the war is thin.
Would someone of his intelligence really tell the main strut of or security to sod off because we were in the EU.? Come on...be serious. If his views mattered he would do what the Labour or Conservatuve Party would do
Back the US on the basis of our security. We cansee by the 11% standing of the Libs that the oppositon to the war was a thin pose for most of the hot house flower power brigade.

So if a good Liberal could sit happily in the Conservative Party perhaps the Liberals and the Conservatives can find common ground .I have hoped so for a long time ,barring the old lunacy there are great ideas coming from them on crime and housing. If they are just fellow brown travellers then they deserve contempt

Johnny Norfolk said...

its all down to that nasty piece of work Simon Hughes. He is the problem the Lib/Dems have. They sacked Kennedy now Ming and Hughes survives. He is the one they should be rid of

Anonymous said...

Perhaps Norman Baker's finger prints are all over this too ?

Scary Biscuits said...

Anonymous 2.50, I agree with teesbridge that blaming the media is a schoolboy excuse.

If you don't define your own character, your enemies do it for you and it's rarely flatering.

Ming had to go for the same reason that Charlie had to go: the old neither-one-thing-nor-the-other-but-something-inbetween strategy of the Liberals for the last 20 years has run its course and a replacement is needed.

Until they come up with one they're going to continue going through leaders quicker than a hot knife through butter.

Anonymous said...

Can't see why people are surprised or horrified that Ming may have been pushed/knifed. That's politics.

How many leaders have gone voluntarily without the failure at a GE to hasten them on their way?

Quite frankly, it's up to the (whichever) Party - volunteers and MPs - to dump a leader who is a liability, so watch a head of steam build up against Brown in the next 6 months.

Anonymous said...

Did you see Ming's comments? That says it all really. You're wrong Iain.

Iain Dale said...

Isn't it funny how all these LibDem posters are anonymous? Yellow. That's their colour.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Shirley Williams that we mustn't be ageist about Ming. I was just worried that if he ever popped his clogs, we might not be able to tell.

Newmania said...

Yellowy Brown...

Anonymous said...

Iain, looking at Ming's interview with the Beeb it seems your feeble attempt at misrepresenting the situation has been well and truly sunk!

Iain Dale said...

There we go, another anonymous LibDem. Draw your own conclusions.

Thomas Gordon said...


They should get back to writing porkies in Focus

Anonymous said...

I've looked at the paper that Simon Hughes was holding up, and if you look really closely you can see the sellotape where the Lib Dem front bench cut up the original statement.

What Ming really said was this:

Although I am convinced that questions about leadership are getting in the way of further progress by the party, I do not intend to submit my resignation as Leader with immediate effect, or to make any further comment.

But following the Prime Minister’s radical decision not to hold an election, it has become clear that if we are to compete effectively against Labour and the Conservatives the internal structures of the party need revision.

Accordingly I now hold a press conference.

Poor Blighter was in Scotland before he knew what had hit him.

Anonymous said...

Ming - Winning Here!

The last time there was an election here, Ming Campbell got 58%, with third place getting only 23%.

Clearly, only Ming Campbell can win here.

Darkersideofbridgetjones said...

As I have said on Dizzy's blog I think it is really dispicable the way the British press have hounded Menzies Campbell. It has been an absolute campaign of ageism, they are the ones that have bullied him into making this decision. Significant members of his party are also bullies and they should be exposed. I feel really sorry for him, I really do. I just wish that some of the other mainstream parties would have come out and defended him a little bit. Poor bloke,

Anonymous said...

Iain, you're using the Kerron Cross school of political sparring... "Oooh, he's anonymous..."

Answer the point.

Alex said...

Iain, go easy on the Lib dems. It has not been a good few weeks for them. On the bright side they can hold next year's conference in a phone box (remember them?).

Anonymous said...

I am gay my parwents sexually abused me as a boy. But that does not stop me supporting tolerance of crime.

Anonymous said...


Do you want me to look at my dreary wife, chomping on her badly-cooked food?

Garry said...

Iain: Yellow. That's their colour.


Yet more insightful, intelligent and, lest we forget, compassionate conservative political commentary from the UK's number one political blogger. Personally, I'm glad the Tories have decided to stop all that childish Punch and Judy nonsense...

Today Ming, in a statesmanlike interview which probably* left the party feeling united, said "I had no sense that there were people [in the party] moving against me... This was my decision. I took this decision."

(* "Probably" because I'm not a member. I'm guessing.)

Did you notice that at all Iain?

Wrinkled Weasel said...

What if the Lib Dems realised that Ming must go? Nothing personal. Nothing nasty. Just that he was a liability.

They were caught between a rock and a hard place. Either they stab him and make it clean or let him make his own mind up.

If Vince and Simon had done the rounds praising Ming to the skies you would be calling them hypocrites. Poor bastards had no choice did they?

All they could do was to try and chose their words carefully. Ever had a kid who showed you a drawing that was crap and asked you what you thought?

Anonymous said...

I am really fed up with all this 'ageism' cr*p.

Why would anyone vote for a party led by a pensioner (oh, please don't quote me Churchill again, he was a disaster after the war)?

There are some jobs you are too old for, some jobs you are too young for (see Campbell, Hague) - that's because sometimes you are too fixed in your ways and sometimes you don't have enough experience! wow, rocket science it ain't.

I don't want an old codger with bad eyesight and shaking hands performing surgery on my loved ones, just as I don't want a 16yr old flying a passenger jet, thanks.

Oscar Miller said...

The knives were obviously sharpening for Ming and his time was limited. But in the end he jumped first - and surprised the would be backstabbers. I bet he's done a deal with Gordon to be a 'foreign affairs' guru for NuLab. Gordon probably rang him up and said 'come into my big tent - and life will be so much easier. Instead of all this stick about your age you'll be treated like a sage occasionally making pious pronouncments about Afghanistan or the Middle East'. That way Gordon gets to have a bit of anti-war cred and Ming gets an easy life. I admit I have no evidence for this - but that's no worse than Iain.

Anonymous said...

I agree with both of Judith's posts.

I believeher time frame in her first post is well predicted. I certainly don't think Brown will last the two years until an election. He isn't fast enough on his feet, or charming enough (gag) to recover from the clobbering he took over the last couple of weeks. I could practially see a little frisson of fear skitter through the Government back benches at PMQs.

And I relectantly have to agree with Judith that sometimes, ageism is the only way. The job of party leader today is more onerous than it was in the past. Communications are swifter and more demanding. Events move more quickly. It takes a lot of energy just to keep up, never mind think quickly enough and be sufficiently fleet of foot to grab the ball and move it down the field.

I also agree that I don't want a 16-year old at the controls of the next flight I take.

Steve Horgan said...

There has been some world-class garbage posted in these comments. Of course he was pushed! It wasn't the men in grey suits, but it was the lack of loyalty and support that every leader needs when the going gets tough. As the never-ending run of bad media on Ming's leadership continued, where were his supporters? In fact Hughes and Cable contrived to put more pressure on him with their on-the-record stuff, never mind what might have been happening non-attributively. Look at his resignation letter, short, brutal, dismissive. Is that what you write to friends and trusted colleagues? Not likely. Look at the positive glee of some LibDem MPs like the lady from Romsey who was quite prepared to discuss how Ming's departure improved her chances at a future election. This with the bloke an hour gone.

Iain's dead right, as he usually is.

Anonymous said...

They had a good conference regarding plastic bags but it wasn't enough. The last election was their last hope with Iraq, tuition fees etc. It doesn't matter who they have as leader it's all over.

Anonymous said...

steve horgan - you may have a point, but isn't the Times nearer the mark when it says that it wasn't Ming's enemies that did for him, it was his friends. After all, they are the ones you trust to tell you how the land lies out in the constituencies, and if you ask them for an honest opinion and a truthful assessment, it is not really on to play 'shoot the messenger'.

He may have been stitched up with a lack of support, but that may have been a reflection of the attitude out in the constituency assocs.

If his chums had come back and told him everything in the garden was rosy, when it was not, they would not really be his friends, now would they ?

Anonymous said...

From the BBC website:

'Sir Menzies Campbell has told the BBC he feels "irritated and frustrated" at having to resign as Lib Dem leader, but said the decision was his alone.'

Which breaks new ground in lack of consistency even by Lib Dem standards. Either he had to resign or it was his decision alone, can't be both, and I know which I believe.

Anonymous said...

Can't wait for the contenders to be announced then we can sit back for the closet door to fall open spilling skeletons all over the place. Simon Hughes has nothing to smirk about either. Their core voters work in the public sector, education, social services etc so they have no idea how to run a real world economy it's all tax and spend.
Vote Rinka.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps a Ming for Speaker bandwagon is starting to roll?

Commons Confidential: October2007

By Nick Assinder
Political correspondent, BBC News website

Despatches from the House of Commons 1300 GMT, TUESDAY 16 OCTOBER
The prime minister was quick to offer his support for his friend Sir Menzies Campbell after his resignation as Liberal Democrat leader, declaring: "I'm sure he will continue to make a major contribution to public life."

But what might that role be? How about Speaker of the Commons?
Sir Menzies was widely tipped as a possible successor to Betty Boothroyd when she stood down and was eventually replaced after an unprecedented election - some said shambles - by Michael Martin in 2000.

Ming was defeated on that occasion - along with 10 others - but, with some mutterings that Speaker Martin must be nearing the end of his tenure (it is entirely up to him when he goes but he has now served virtually as long as his recent predecessors) his name has started circulating again.

He certainly has the weight, experience and - dare I say it, age - for the job and would without doubt command the respect of all parties and MPs, essential qualities in the post.

No one, of course, has yet asked Sir Menzies or, perhaps more importantly, Speaker Martin, what they think of the idea.