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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Question Time

I am watching Question Time at the moment (it is half an hour later in Wales). I recall a previous discussion about the qualities we should be looking for in a future Liberal Democrat leader. One person summed up his thoughts in two words - young and sober.

An audience member has just had a prolonged go about the way that Charles Kennedy was forced to vacate the leadership. What he said very much reflects the anger still felt by a substantial minority within the party regarding the way that our MPs behaved at that time.

In many ways the Menzies Campbell leadership was unable to deal with that anger because he took his position as a direct consequence of Kennedy's departure. The events leading up to his leadership contest created expectations that neither Ming nor any other leader could possibly live up to.

Those expectations placed a huge amount of pressure on Ming's leadership and contributed to his eventual resignation. It is to his credit that despite that pressure Ming did so well to redefine the party and to improve its organisation and professionalism.

The leadership contest that we are now engaged in is an opportunity to move on. It is a chance to build on the policy and organisational work overseen by Ming and to reach out and attract new voters and supporters. Whoever wins will be in a position to finally jettison the baggage of Kennedy's departure and lead in their own right.
"The events leading up to his leadership contest created expectations that neither Ming nor any other leader could possibly live up to."

I disagree Peter. I saw from the start that Ming was not the leader we needed. That is why, like so many other activists and yourself I think (correct me if I'm wrong), chose not to vote for Ming.
Ming's leadership was the result of a massive misjudgment by the bulk of the MPs.

I think that being the "establishment candidate" has actually damaged Clegg. A lot of activists, quite rightly so, do not trust the MPs judgements in picking a leader. After all, last time they were wrong and we were right.
Kennedy was protected too long by the same MPs who turned on him. They did so only because his alcoholism was about to be exposed in the media.

I reckon that his public performances since resigning the leadership have been more forceful - pressure being relieved, perhaps? - and have done us some good.

It seems that we have been trying to find a federal leader who combines three qualities: a commitment to liberal democracy, a dominating personality (in order to put our distinct message across) and an ability to be liked by media & the public. It's hard to live up to these demands.

- Frank Little
The media love to paint things in terms of plots and personal conflicts, but it seems to me the Kennedy resignation was just a matter of plain common sense. The man had a drinking problem which was impacting badly on the job he was doing, he had been given adequate time to deal with it, he hadn't, therefore it was best that he should go and someone else take over.

What is there for anyone to get angry over that? Any competent organisation would have done exactly the same over a person in a senior executive position who had a serious drinking problem - politely ask the person to step down and take on a less prominent and less pressured role until he had it sorted out.
Well I am still angry, mostly with those who gave the impression they could do better and didnt.
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