Monday, May 07, 2007

So what future for the Liberal Democrats

It is interesting to observe the musings of the Liberal Democrats as they ponder what was a bit of a stuffing.

In Mid Sussex the Liberal Democrats seemed to have a plan, which someone may have communicated to Indigo Public Affairs, who predicted Mid Sussex would be taken by the said Yellow Peril.

The only problem with that of course is that we had one too, and ours worked oh so much better than theirs.

However if they are looking for someone to blame in their own ranks, and on the day of the count some clearly were, it seems that they will pin it on the people in their party, particularly in Burgess Hill, who went independent over "disagreements".

I have to say it helped, but we were not counting on it.

It seems though that elsewhere they are looking for bigger blood. Word reaches me that the leadership is being blamed both nationally and in Wales.

The Arsembly blog has a series of articles here on the ructions in the Welsh Liberal Democrats who have yet to make any progress since their first election of 6 AM's here, and here.

Meanwhile Ordovicius has this tale of blame here and coalition trouble for the Liberal Democrats here.

Then of course there is the slow bubling of noises about Ming Campbell's leadership. Iain Dale has round ups here and here.

I know that in Mid Sussex their PPC Serena Tierney (who rather ridiculously styles herself as Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Spokesman*) was surprised at some of our results, particularly in Lucastes because I heard her say so. That made me laugh!

That said they obviously had high hopes and were looking to improve their seat numbers in the council and went backwards instead.

So should they blame Ming, their own internal divisions, their campaigning technique or what?

Frankly I don't care as long as they rip themselves apart, but then again I might be biased!

* To be fair at least the English language has not been garbled here. Spokesman is correct and can apply to both men and women. Spokesperson would have caused a rant on my part!


Falling on a bruise said...

In my opinion the Lib dems rode the anti-war wave but as that subsides so so the fortunes of the Ming camp.
Ming also is not the right leader and i can see him replaced soon for a younger man or even Kennedy back again.

Benedict White said...

LucyP, well they did. However the last time these elections were fought, Iraq looked like a good call, so they were not riding that high on the anti Iraq sentiment.

That said I think Ming is absolutely the right leader as far as I am concerned :)

I have to wonder what the Liberal Democrats as a party think they are for, as in what is their purpose?

I think they need to go back to basics and answer that one first.

stevelocal said...

A leader needs to inspire and have visible charisma.

Ming may inspire the lib dem activists, but gives no inspiration to the wider electorate. His charisma does not come across. He is a liability. Which is exactly what Labour and the Tories need.

Now what happens first, Clegg or Huhne challenge hime or Clegg/Laws etc take the Tory bait and their places on the Tory front bench?

Benedict White said...

stevelocal, I like Ming, he along with Brown is part of our election winning stratagy! :)

Anonymous said...

And the point of the Conservatives is ... ?

[Clue: to mimic NuLab vacuity, and to borrow odd bits of policy-lite from here and there in the hope that it gets Cameron and his Etonian clique's hands on the levers of power where they will ensure, via masterly inactivity, that its there chums with their snouts in the trough rather than Tony's]

Benedict White said...

Anonymous, Stop being vacuous and read this:

Anonymous said...

"I have to wonder what the Liberal Democrats as a party think they are for, as in what is their purpose?

I think they need to go back to basics and answer that one first."

-- Indeed. The Lib Dems have essentially spent a fair few years simply not being the Tories and not being Labour.. This worked whilst antipathy against the Tories was strong enough, but "nice" Mr Cameron, and the passage of time, has put paid to that.

I've been very disappointed that they haven't had the backbone to break ranks with the cosy "Tough on crime" consensus of the other parties. They have run scared of the tabloid press instead of sticking up for their liberal principles.

I think that would be one area where they could genuinely have forged an alternative choice for the electorate, compared to the hang 'em and flog 'em rhetoric of NuLab and Tories (regardless of Hug a Hoodie).

Instead they have been completely anodyne and boring and caved in.

They might have lost, but at least they would have lost gloriously, instead of in the chaotic shambles they currently appear in.

I had this sort of argument with my Lib Dem member brother, before the 2005 election. This was when they were trying to tack right, because that was where their "target" seats were. However, the Lib Dems simply are not a natural party of the right. It was a daft and shallow sort of tactical calculation.

If they are ever going to "break the mould of British Politics" they will actually have to go out and win some arguments and change people's minds. Otherwise why didn't the ambitious young things join the Tories or Labour in the first place?

Benedict White said...

Timothy, I agree with most of what you say, though I think the hug a hoodie speeches indicate fresh thinking on our part that is not only tough on crime itself but a bit more forward thinking.

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