The Apollo Project
Liberal Ideas for the 21st Century
Thursday, February 09, 2006
The Alex Wilcock View
by Peter

Reading Alex Wilcock's pieces on the candidates has been educational.

These thoughts caught my eye:

Ming, at his best, has statesmanlike gravitas. Simon, at his best, can be passionate, or friendly and at ease. Chris, at his best, is… succinct. Unfortunately, he writes much better than his spoken delivery, and the election will be settled on television rather than through pamphleteering. Who is he going to appeal to? Yes, he can seem solid and serious, but does anyone really think he’ll come across as more solid and more serious than Gordon Brown? He really needs to work on sounding human, and I suspect hardwiring his massive brain to a virtual Charles Kennedy is as yet beyond the party’s budget for CGI.

Alex goes on to say:

After Jackie in '99, I vowed to myself I wouldn't back another first-time MP with a tiny majority. After the European Parliament I can just about let him off the one, but a 500 majority? What is he thinking? Though he’ll probably hold it, there'll be no other story than 'Will the Lib Dem Leader lose his seat?' for us in the run-up to the election. So I worry.

Now Huhne's sharp elbows have always seemed an asset to me. Alex puts it like this

The other side of his dealing with people, however, is his obvious ruthlessness, which is unattractive; perhaps he needed to from third place, but he’s been much more ruthless in person to the other two leadership candidates than they’ve been (their entourages are a different matter). He was quite open about being one of those to bring Charles down, too; I didn’t like it. Though it’s more attractive than plotting without holding the knife. And if he’s such a good team-builder, I do wonder that his team and following is mostly made up of people on whom he’s made a good first impression, rather than known him for a while. It’s striking that there are so many more MSPs, for example – as far away from him as possible – than MEPs who he worked with for years on his list of supporters.

I still have my doubts about whether this is all negative - I don't think there is any point worrying that he was one of the prime movers against Kennedy. One almost wonders why he feels he has to be so frank about this - but being frank is a good thing.

And one last thought

Unlike Ming’s, Chris' is a campaign that would benefit from having more of a team to it, and from making lots of moves about consulting the party.

I know most about Simon and Ming so it is good to have this insight into Chris. One hears conflicting reports about him - but "Chris the team player" is not something one hears said very often.
posted by Peter Pigeon @ 7:57 pm  
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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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