This blog is a political blog from a left-of-centre perspective. This is not specifically a party political blog, but does have a Lib Dem orientation. Constructive enagement with radical liberals, social democrats / democratic socialists and greens is particularly welcomed.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Dead Man Walking

Sadly the 'Dead Man Walking' description of Charles Kennedy seems true. It is the loss of support of senior colleagues in such great numbers that will 'do for' Kennedy in my view, rather than his issues with alcohol, which could and hopefully are being addressed.

CK's announcement seems like an attempt to flush out his oppenents in a put up or shut up appeal, yet again ! He's hoping to be the only name on the ballot, but it is more likely that a vote of confidence motion supported by a significant part of the parliamentary party that will make his position entirely untenable, if it isn't already.

I believe it is vital to have an open leadership race where the vision for and direction of the party can be fleshed out. For once, the last Tory leadership election provided them with that springboard, we must do the same, albeit in more trying circumstances.

One of the most interesting bi-products of the Cameron victory is surely, as James rightly argues on his blog at is that the Orange Book fundamentalist free-marketeerism is surely dead in the water too. If Cameron can rule out insurance funded health care then to move to the right of him would be electoral suicide and cannot be allowed to happen. David Laws' pet project looks utterly doomed now thank goodness.

Ideally too a leading proponent of Orange Bookery can be trounced in any contested election. To move right when even the Tories are SOUNDING more centrist would cause long-term damage to the party. I certainly would not stay in a party to the right of the Tories for whom I've had a visceral loathing for my entire political life !

It would however be interesting to hear who party members would like to see run [and win] should the leadership contest be an open one, as it must be.

If there is a change I think on balance Charles Kennedy has led the Lib Dems well. I, for one, prefer his collegiate 'Chairman Charles' approach to the gung-ho style of Ashdown or the presidential style of Blair and his Tory clone Cameron. The history books cannot deny that the party has moved forward at Westminster, Scotland, Wales and is very much more a national party and one capable of appealing to suburban, rural and metropolitan communities alike. The GE result whilst ostensibly good in historical terms left me feeling a little disappointed, but certainly good enough to retain Charles in situ.

Charles has, overall, kept the diverse Lib Dem coalition together well and his standing with the public has been a real asset. My greatest unease is that he maybe didn't deal with a clique of individuals whose off the record media pronouncements damaged both him and the wider party. Sadly such people seem to have no wide measure of support, be it in the party membership or the wider public and should have been slapped down earlier.

My greatest fear is that the right-wing press will 'promote' a candidate as the 'natural' successor [ala Blair] and we elect someone who is out-of-step with the political instincts of party activists. To a much lesser extent, the tone of Cameron also seems not in accord with the base prejudices of the Tory core support, but so desperate to win are they that he has a brief opportunity during his 'honeymoon' period to hide the nastiness that was inherent in their last manifesto, penned by no other than the chameleon Cameron himself. A weird few weeks in British politics for sure !

Belated New Year Greetings to all.


Post a Comment

<< Home