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parrot_knight [userpic]

Farewell Sir Ming

October 15th, 2007 (11:08 pm)
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I always felt that the LibDems were making the wrong decision in electing Sir Menzies Campbell as their leader; it seemed that they were choosing someone who might have made a better job of presenting the party's case in the 2005 election than Charles Kennedy, rather than the person best placed to respond to the changing situation in the ensuing parliamentary term. Campbell seems to have left because he could see the whispering campaign getting worse; his leadership immediately takes on something of a caretaker character in retrospect, but that impression might pass depending on where Nick Clegg or Chris Huhne or whomever takes the party. I agree with Peter Hyman, speaking on Newsnight, that the party needs to be more 'interesting', but what that interest will be requires hard work on policy, image, and communication with voters.

Comments

Posted by: Gramarye (gramarye1971)
Posted at: October 16th, 2007 01:43 am (UTC)

Personally, I am a little leery of how the media would define an 'interesting' Lib Dem leadership.

Sir Menzies never really seemed to have the proper presence in the House that one might have expected he'd have, especially during PMQs. Paddy Ashdown was able to provide the appropriate, slightly sneering commentary that one expected of a third-party leader; Charles Kennedy generally had a good sense of timing. Sir Menzies almost always seemed to fall flat in his replies, and more often than not he came off as a shrill, hectoring sort of schoolmaster who couldn't quite gain control of an unruly class.

I feel rather bad for him, but I'm actually sort of glad he's out of the leadership. I think he might do better if he was to be kicked upstairs fairly soon.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: October 16th, 2007 09:22 am (UTC)
Horace Walpole

I like the icon! I was old enough to be excited by the launch of the SDP in 1981, and remember the Alliance leading opinion polls, pre-Falklands, with over 50% support.

I agree with you about Sir Menzies not having the presence in the House one might have expected him to have; indeed, as leader, he didn't seem to have the moral presence on his television appearances which he had enjoyed as foreign afffairs spokesman. I don't think that his going to the Lords immediately is likely unless the party are as certain as possible of holding on to the seat (though I'd have thought, without examining anything, that they would).

Posted by: Gramarye (gramarye1971)
Posted at: October 16th, 2007 02:47 pm (UTC)

Thanks. ^_^ I keep thinking that it would be amusing to write a Gang of Four sitcom sketch, where David Owen and Roy Jenkins are always pulling mean-spirited pranks on each other, Shirley Williams does her best to ignore their immaturity, and everyone keeps tripping over Bill Rodgers because they forget he's there. (Guest starring David Steel as the wacky neighbour.)

I can't see a by-election for his seat very soon either, but I can't think it would be good for overall party cohesiveness to have him hovering about like Banquo's ghost. I suppose it depends on whether he's able to reassert himself as a plausible foreign-affairs spokesman and smooth over the transition to whoever comes next. But the Lib Dems are quickly getting a reputation of savaging their leaders, so we'll see what comes of the transition in general.

Posted by: freddiethetroll (freddiethetroll)
Posted at: October 16th, 2007 03:03 pm (UTC)

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: October 16th, 2007 03:08 pm (UTC)

Posted by: freddiethetroll (freddiethetroll)
Posted at: October 16th, 2007 03:52 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Pellegrina (pellegrina)
Posted at: October 16th, 2007 06:18 pm (UTC)

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: October 16th, 2007 06:21 pm (UTC)

Posted by: viala_qilarre (viala_qilarre)
Posted at: October 16th, 2007 07:58 am (UTC)

But it was brave of them to choose a leader whose name makes him sound like the despot of an alien planet.

YOU WILL OBEY SIR MING THE MERCILESS!

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: October 16th, 2007 09:12 am (UTC)
SarahJaneSmith

The Independent gets some bleak amusement out of that tag on its front page this morning.

Posted by: daniel_saunders (daniel_saunders)
Posted at: October 16th, 2007 03:56 pm (UTC)
Outsider

The Now Show was hoping for a "Gordon versus Ming" election, which is now sadly impossible.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: October 16th, 2007 06:22 pm (UTC)

Posted by: philmophlegm (philmophlegm)
Posted at: October 16th, 2007 12:48 pm (UTC)
aimingforhishead2

Not really anything to do with me, but I suppose I should be loyal to other Magdalen PPEists (Chris Huhne).

Posted by: wellinghall (wellinghall)
Posted at: October 16th, 2007 12:51 pm (UTC)

There are worse reasons for choosing a political leader. And better.

Posted by: philmophlegm (philmophlegm)
Posted at: October 16th, 2007 12:54 pm (UTC)

Mostly better reasons!

William Hague and John Redwood also did PPE at Magdalen. I don't know of any Labour politicians who did.

George Osborne did some other subject, but he was in my year.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: October 16th, 2007 12:56 pm (UTC)

Posted by: philmophlegm (philmophlegm)
Posted at: October 16th, 2007 12:59 pm (UTC)

Posted by: wellinghall (wellinghall)
Posted at: October 16th, 2007 12:59 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Adilo Creamon (the_marquis)
Posted at: October 16th, 2007 04:31 pm (UTC)

Posted by: wellinghall (wellinghall)
Posted at: October 16th, 2007 01:00 pm (UTC)

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: October 16th, 2007 01:04 pm (UTC)

Posted by: wellinghall (wellinghall)
Posted at: October 16th, 2007 01:06 pm (UTC)

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: October 16th, 2007 01:11 pm (UTC)

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: October 16th, 2007 01:12 pm (UTC)

Posted by: wellinghall (wellinghall)
Posted at: October 16th, 2007 01:14 pm (UTC)

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: October 16th, 2007 01:17 pm (UTC)

Posted by: wellinghall (wellinghall)
Posted at: October 16th, 2007 01:06 pm (UTC)

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: October 16th, 2007 01:10 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Pellegrina (pellegrina)
Posted at: October 16th, 2007 06:21 pm (UTC)

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: October 16th, 2007 06:26 pm (UTC)

Posted by: philmophlegm (philmophlegm)
Posted at: October 16th, 2007 08:25 pm (UTC)

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: October 16th, 2007 08:34 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Kargicq (kargicq)
Posted at: October 16th, 2007 08:36 pm (UTC)

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: October 16th, 2007 09:27 pm (UTC)

Posted by: daniel_saunders (daniel_saunders)
Posted at: October 16th, 2007 04:04 pm (UTC)
Marxist

I'm not too sad to see Campbell go. As I've mentioned before on my own blog, Lib Dem discourse over the Middle East has developed a nasty side over the last couple of years, with talk of Zionist and even Jewish control over the western media and the political process.

Not only has Campbell failed to stamp this out, some of those responsible have been given or allowed to hold on to positions of influence within the party. At the very least, this seems clear evidence of the poor leadership ability that has led to his resignation.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: October 16th, 2007 08:39 pm (UTC)

I think I've mentioned before the Liberal Party's alleged relationship with the National Front in Tower Hamlets in the 1980s, though I can't find any mention of it online at the moment.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: October 16th, 2007 08:55 pm (UTC)
Zen

I wasn't looking very far or very hard! One useful link is here, though the website has an air of conspiracy theory journalism about it.

Posted by: daniel_saunders (daniel_saunders)
Posted at: October 16th, 2007 10:48 pm (UTC)
Outsider

I see what you mean about conspiracy theory journalism ("Mark Saunders" is no relation, by the way), although complaining about the London Olympics is another hobby horse of mine, as is the Beijing Olympics, to a lesser extent.

Posted by: hack (overconvergent)
Posted at: October 16th, 2007 09:15 pm (UTC)

I think there's a danger that the MPs or the activists might be getting too much of a taste for the blood of their own leaders ... which might be fun for the other parties to watch, but not useful for their party.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: October 16th, 2007 09:26 pm (UTC)
Horace Walpole

Dangerously likely... and there is the potent illusion that changing a leader will sort out all the party's problems, part of the cult of leadership of which Sir Ming has complained this evening.