'Sir Menzies' advisers blame the state of the party machine that he inherited from Charles Kennedy. They say key decisions were taken by Mr Kennedy's inner circle, which was more focused on covering up his alcohol problem than ensuring an efficient operation.'This seems a little unfair, as the party was constantly pumping out press releases and generating an opinion on everything under the sun. Apparently, they're also a bit strapped for cash (as are most parties at this point) and only have four out of fifteen press officer vacancies filled, but that may be more to do with the former post-holders loyalty to Chuckles.
'Ming has virtually nobody in his office. They all quit when Charles went and, during the local elections, he has been going round the country with one man and a dog. It's amazing we got the result we did in the local elections.'The local election campaign was apparently planned by Kennedy and Campbell just picked up the plans and followed them to the letter. Ming's excuse for his lacklustre performance at PMQs is that 'juries don't answer back' as he apologised to his rather restive group of MPs this week. I'm not sure when the knife will go in, but unless he pulls his socks up - and gets some support from the Young Turks (yes, Clegg, I mean you) who hope to succeed him, then I doubt he'll struggle through to the next election.
It is worse than I thought. Firstly, Ming's own representative on earth claims that the poor performances is because the Great Man is used to being listened to in 'reverential silence' as he casts his pearls of wisdom before the Liberal Democrat swine. Has he never been in PMQs before in all his years of parliamentary experience? And to cap it all, Simon Hughes is being his usual supportive self, telling GMTV viewers (both of 'em) on Sunday that Campbell has to 'progress' and that he shouldn't be judged after six weeks, but after six months - they should take stock of his progress at the party conference. Those sharks are certainly starting to gather again...
Ming's fate is confirmed by Lembit 'Nostradamus' Opik with his fullsome show of support for and faith in his leader.
'I was quite surprised about the opinion against Charles but that looks now like a moment of madness. It's not our style. There is no way people are going to be talking about changing the leader again.'You may remember that Lembit loyally stood by his friend Charlie, even as all others were preparing to sacrifice him. Lembit then backed Mark Oaten. His track record this year hasn't been great - the man's a jinx.
While we're talking about the unspeakable Mr Oaten, whose position as MP for Winchester looks like a short-term contract at the moment, his attempts to revive his career continue apace as the second phase of the rehabilitation plan hit this week.
Following his wife's interview with 'Hello' the other week, describing how her husband told her he'd been up to 'unspeakable acts of degradation' with rent boys, hot on her heels comes an Oaten article. This blames his problems with rent boys on a mid-life crisis brought on by the loss of his hair, amongst other things. Go figure. Sadly for Mark, his political prospects look bleak. He wants to continue as the MP for Winchester, but last week's local election results seem to make that an unlikely prospect, as Mr Dale reminds us. The former Liberal Democrat leader of Winchester City Council laid the blame for their defeats last week squarely at the feet of Mark Oaten, despite denying that publically on Sky News.
Such are the decisions made by the electorate and based on nothing of significance to the City Council but rather on the behaviour of our MP!