Monday, October 15, 2007


Ingredients for a Liberal Democrat Leader

Poor old Sir Ming, that was pretty quick. Elected as a safe pair of hands, he's looked wobblier than a French full back. So it is to be decision time for the Liberal Democrats after all. The first Lib Dem leader, Paddy Ashdown, drew them closer to the centre-left consensus. The second, Charlie Kennedy realised that he needed distance from Labour, but didn't know whether that should be distance to the right or to the left. He was able to conceal that lack of direction by a mixture of personal affability, shameless disingenuousness from local Lib Dem activists and the only Lib Dem USP - opposition to the war in Iraq.
When his alcoholism made his leadership completely impossible, Ming was faced with making the final choice - left or right. He didn't make it, and, with Iraq slowly losing its potency as an elction-winning issue, he had neither the message nor the medium to sell the Lib Dems. The question is more where do they want to go, and not who shall lead them there. The 'bright young things' of Clegg, Laws and even Huhne all look too right wing for their party, while Hughes has the smell of failure about him. What's surely no longer an option is to continue wobbling along two lines at the same time.

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