The Apollo Project
Liberal Ideas for the 21st Century
Thursday, January 26, 2006
For a Lib Dem breakthrough (updated)
by Peter

(Update - let me start by saying that this is the way I see it. I hope the others will post to give their views soon enough.)

I welcomed the Huhne leadership candidature, and considered voting for him. If he had stuck to the agenda announced by Lynne Featherstone, he might be even have been my first choice. But I haven't been very impressed by his tax proposals, nor by the signals sent out by his Telegraph interview at the weekend. And in the background have always been worries about his majority, and his lack of experience in the Commons.

Some of the negative campaigning has put me off, so I'll be positive: I was happy about him deciding to stand, and even happier about it after the last weekend. He should have a more prominent role in the future - as should some of his supporters in the Commons.

I didn't expect to vote for Simon, even though I have happy memories of campaigning in the "controversial" by-election, and have always admired him as a speaker. He made a good start, and his most recent interview in the Guardian did send out some of the signals I was looking for. But I am still not quite sure what he wants to do with the leadership. I won't let the latest news influence me one way or the other.

So Chris and Simon are two good candidates - and make it hard to decide who will get my second preference.

The pieces on the leadership election election that have most influenced my views are here, here, and here.

Why will it be Ming for me?

First, Ming is a fighter and has put the party first. He stuck with the Liberals through the Thorpe years. He fought his seat every inch of the way, taking us from fourth to first and then on again to a 32% majority. He will take us further than anyone else we have.

Second, Ming is an instinctive liberal, a "gut liberal" in the words of David Howarth. The leadership debate is about values and direction. Ming is the man to combat false liberals of the Cameron kind.

Third, Ming is not just a politician. He has had a great life away from politics, and there is more to his life today than politics. He has great respect at Westminster, but he is not immersed in the Westminster bubble. He has a great story to tell the electorate.

Fourth, you can imagine Ming in a Cabinet. He has the Westminster experience. He has the style. He will give something that we have not had in recent years.

Fifth, he speaks well, and debates well, and has a great radio voice. He exudes warmth.

Sixth, all the candidates have said things I agree with. But more than anyone else, Ming offers the whole Liberal agenda. For a Lib Dem breakthrough, a Ming is the thing!

More than 600 Liberal Democrats have signed up as Menzies Campbell supporters. You can add your name here.
posted by Peter Pigeon @ 5:18 pm  
  • At 27 January, 2006 08:14, Anonymous Oxonian said…

    That's more like it, Peter!

    I don't agree with everything you say (as you'd expect) but at least that's a positive case for Ming.

    Thank you.

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"What is Liberalism?: I should say it means the acknowledgment in practical life of the truth that men are best governed who govern themselves; that the general sense of mankind, if left alone, will make for righteousness; that artificial privileges and restraints upon freedom, so far as they are not required in the interests of the community, are hurtful; and that the laws, while, of course, they cannot equalise conditions, can at least avoid aggravating inequalities, and ought to have for their object the securing to every man the best chance he can have of a good and useful life." C-B.


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