Thursday, January 05, 2006

Baker day

Yet another Liberal Democrat MP has suggested that Charlie K might want to consider his position, but this time it's a front-bencher - Norman Baker, no less, their environment spokesman who wants a vote of confidence amongst the parliamentary party 'to clear the air.' Also joining the pack of howling wolves snapping at Chuckles' heels are Alastair Carmichael, who also wants a confidence vote next week (and there's still the unnamed MP who has promised to force it) plus the former MP and now LD peer, Jenny Tonge, who has described the situation as 'a boil that has to be lanced.' In Channel Four's spot poll of 18 LD MPs, just one could be found to back the current leader, while one called the whole affair 'shambolic,' another added that Chatshow 'can't survive now' and a third 'he's run out of friends now. He is bleeding to death.'

Even with his sop to the right-wingers of the Orange Book (whose thoughts of privatising the NHS now put them to the right of the Tory party) of abandoning that ancient Liberal Democrat promise of a penny on income tax for high earners, Charlie seems to know that he's lost the parliamentary party and is relying on the membership to keep him in the job. Should the MPs force a vote:
'it is perfectly obvious to me and anyone else that the membership are overwhelmingly of the view that I should continue as leader, and that's my gut conviction as well.'

I don't know what planet he's living on, but can anyone seriously believe that the membership would support a leader who had so completely lost his parliamentary support? The mere thought of that might energise Simon Hughes, who has been giving out mixed signals of late. On the one hand, he's not going to run, but then he's still not given unequivocal backing to Charlie. Apparently, Hughes doesn't feel that he would receive the full support of the parliamentary party, although he is likely to win a membership vote, and that's what's putting him off standing, not any sense of loyalty to Chuckles.

At least Charlie can rely on the support of the president of Amber Valley Liberal Democrats, one Oliver Smith, who noted that the current leader is
'holding it together. I think he's good and I think he makes the right decisions.'
But then he is only twelve.


Bob Piper said...

It makes me almost feel a touch of sympathy for Kennedy, who I suspect isn't a bad sort. But if you spend your life in a tank of festering snakes, many of whom regard hypocrisy as a way of life, you can hardly complain when you get bitten. Actually, that's a bit unfair.... snakes have more backbone than your average Lib Dim MP, as they have proven over the last month or so.

Kerron said...

Anyone suspect this may be another anti-drinking inspired rant from Baker?

Not suggesting that Charles Kennedy drinks excessively though, obviously. ;-)