Sunday, December 18, 2005

So Who's Backing Whom?

Everyone seems to agree that as things stand, Simon Hughes would win the LD member vote. True, he lost in 1999, but he was the overwhelming choice for Party President.

Naturally he's loathed by most of his colleagues, but that's not normally a bar. Far more important is that he's a couple of hundred miles to the left of Class-War Prezza, and would therefore lose all those Middle England votes everybody needs.

His MP colleagues must therefore stop him at all costs. What's best?

Oaten naturally thinks he's best: only 41, a young family, and still with all his own teeth, he's presenting himself as the LibDem's own David Cameron. He even claims to have a background in PR (to be investigated further) and a catchphrase- "Tough Liberalism".

But alas, as many others have pointed out, he's as bald as a pre-DC Tory leader. Plus...well, he's exceptionally tedious, as any who heard him droning on Any Questions will testify.

The early money is evidently going on Ming, and the Orange Book modernisers are falling in:

'Younger figures who had been thought likely to mount their own challenges are now preparing to throw their weight behind 64-year-old Sir "Ming".

Younger-generation MPs such as David Laws, Nick Clegg, Ed Davey and Chris Huhne, are planning to unite behind the older candidate in an attempt to stop Mr Hughes, whom they regard as too Left-wing. Their support would bring dozens of other MPs on to the Campbell bandwagon.'

Old Ming might not be that exciting, but he has a public profile, and his old Tory demeanour wouldn't frighten those ME horses. Meanwhile Laws, Clegg et al get to build their own profiles, safe in the knowledge that the old boy would last just 4 years. Absolute tops.

Of course, they then have to fight among themselves for the next succession. But at least they might still be MPs.

Then again, if Si wins, those wafer majority modernisers could always blow the hatches and escape to Cameron's Conservatives.

That would save a lot of time. And might even get one or two of them cabinet posts in 2009.



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