Sunday, January 15, 2006

So, where now?

With the clear leader of the contest withdrawing yesterday, the field seems to have settled on four candidates - the Minger, Hughes, Oaten and Whoone. Clegg seems to regret not running - Compo and Foggy not being available to assist. There are reports of Oaten considering withdrawing, but no reason has yet been given - although I have heard some very intriguing rumours. Guido gives a brief, but fairly accurate precis of the speeches this morning at the LSE.

Oaten is clearly the chosen successor to Kennedy. Charlie himself has backed him and his loyal lieutenant Lembit Opik is leading the campaign. There are also stories from Scotland of a dedicated 'anyone but Campbell' campaign kicking off in revenge for his role in Charlie's defenestration.

I can't see Oaten getting it - even on presentational skills, he is lacking in comparison to Ming and Hughes. He may have much to say on policy, but he's no leader, for now at least. Ming and Hughes were both wounded by Wednesday's PMQs - not fatally, but they are now faced with recovering some lost ground and Ming has to contend with that every week. Being positive, it is national exposure and an opportunity to shine, but it is also a huge chance to fall flat on his backside - and the other contenders can leave him to it, if they choose.

My guess is that Hughes will win it, but I'd put some money on Huhne as an outside chance - he's talked a good game so far and he may yet repeat Cameron's performance in coming out of nowhere and beating the favourite. He would be problematic for the LibDems - although he would exemplify their pro-European stance, his support for the Euro could cause him no end of grief against Cameron and Brown, neither known as single-currency fans.

John's given up his campaign and is now trying to curry favour with all the potential winners, declaring that all four are doing a good job, in the hope that one will give him a good job.


Richard Allen said...

The question is what will the Orange Bookers do now it looks like Hughes is the favourite.

It might not be to late for Clegg especially if Oaten withdraws.

euro_trash said...

You'd put money on Huhne??
Planning to lay if off love?