Monday, January 09, 2006

The guilty men (and women)

One of the few Liberal Democrat MPs able to hold his head high over the squalid assassination of Kennedy's character is Lembit Opik - he defended him to the bitter end. And I mean bitter.

Just before Chuckles threw in the towel on Saturday, Lembit was interviewed outside the Cowley Street central office and his demeanour virtually defined 'incandescent' - which is a challenge for one of the milder-mannered Liberal Democrat MPs - in his anger at how Kennedy was being treated. He then turned up on every media outlet that afternoon, raging against the dying of the Kennedy light.
'They've got what they wanted and we lose the most successful party leader we've had for 83 years,' said Mr Opik. 'It has been divisive and I've got some very strong words to say which I'll now share quietly and privately about the performance of some of my colleagues. I think they have violated the values of the party and crucially they have given their impression that their words and their views are more important than the electorate which chose him in the first place, and I don't think that's very constitutional. There are many deep scars and a lot of resentment, primarily among the membership, who are bewildered by what's happened.'
While Opik is now prepared to back Oaten's campaign, compare and contrast his loyal behaviour over the weekend with that of Jenny Willott, the Liberal Democrat MP for Cardiff Central.
Friday morning:
'Charles Kennedy is a massive asset to the party, and people should remember that the party has got the most MPs it has ever had for 80 years. He says he has been receiving treatment and has not had a drink for two months, and I don't see why he can't continue his job as leader.'
By Friday afternoon, she was the only Welsh LibDem to sign the letter asking Charlie to resign.
'I feel that his position was untenable. He had lost the support of most of the parliamentary party. I felt that Charles on his best form was the best party leader, but he was no longer on his best form. For me, Charles didn't have enough momentum to drive the party in the best direction.'
Then there's Sarah Teather, who was elected thanks to Charlie Kennedy and was rewarded, despite her inexperience, with a seat on the front-bench. None of that stopped her from cheerleading the campaign to remove Chuckles.

We've already covered the disloyalty of Charlie's former press secretary, Daisy McDonald, who was the willing accomplice of the other assassins.

This isn't a diatribe against Lib Dem women, as the rest of 'em - Cable, Campbell, Hughes and others have all spent weeks and months briefing against Kennedy, despite renominating him almost unanimously after the election in May. Loyalty clearly isn't a word in the Liberal dictionary.

Who's the nasty party now then? (Thanks to Yellow Peril)

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