Saturday, March 12, 2005

Testing paternity

Reading Tom Watson's blog today, describing having to face the wrath of a sleep-deprived wife for not going to IKEA to purchase a wardrobe for his new child's bedroom caused me to think of Charlie Kennedy and his current problem.

He's decided to take paternity leave when his first-born arrives in mid-April. The only problem is that this will be smack in the middle of a short election campaign. On the one hand, I applaud his stand against the machismo of politics (a stand that Tony didn't really take when Leo was born) to take some time to be with his wife and child. I shall gloss over the point that entitlement to paternity leave was brought in by Labour...

The problem is that Charles is the most (some might say only) recognisable face on the Liberal Democrat front bench. If you don't believe me, how many of these could you pick out of a police line-up? (Competition not open to Cllr Hemming) He's also the best regarded of all the party leaders with a solid approval rating, so his loss for a few days in the schedule could be damaging.

So what to do? Does he take the time and risk the wrath of his party? Does he carry on campaigning and face the ire of his wife? (Trust me, party wrath is NOTHING). Or he could just hang on until after May 5, when he's not going to have to do anything onerous like form a government.


BB said...

Wow, some of those Lib Dems are really obscure. On the other hand, perhaps Chuck benefits by not being quite as visible as the "mudslinging" Howard and Blair. Therefore a bit of time away (especially if it reinforces his 'decent', family-friendly image) might not be a bad idea.

PoliticalHack said...

A bit of time away - particularly if the cameras catch him being a father won't hurt that image at all.