At long last, the Menzies Campbell battleomnibus has chugged slowly into Brighton and parked beside the rest of the Liberal Democrat's bandwagons, as Campbell prepares for another relaunch of his leadership. That vessel has been launched more times than the Brighton lifeboat.
Cameron's facing his first conference as leader and Blair heads toward his last, Campbell has the distinction of possibly managing both simultaneously. Kennedy - despite the drubbing from the recent book - is expected to make a decent speech, while Campbell is having problems with his maths. When asked if he could see a space for Charlie on the front bench, Campbell replied grouchily that:
'I've known Charles since he was twenty - you can work out how long that is'As his mind clearly isn't up to the basic maths of working out that he's known Chatshow for about twenty-five years, one wonders if he's up to the job of persuading conference to abandon their long-held promise to tax the rich.
In return, we get green taxes. Now these WILL be vote winners.
For example, the proposal to hike the road tax for the middle-range family saloons like the Vectra and the Mondeo from £150 a year to the belt-tightening £850 a year is tough enough. If you get an Audi A4 or a BMW 5 series, your £190 bill pumps up to an eye-watering £1500, but if you own a top end car - including some of the Espace range and the Land-Rover - you can expect to find your wallet raided to the tune of £2000 per annum. No wonder Ming sold his Jaguar. How can a pensioner afford to run a car like that?
As I have noted before, Cllr Hemming has an awful lot of Land-Rover employees living in Yardley. I'm not sure that they will really want to see their jobs sacrificed in this way, because that tax hike prices the best 4x4 out of existence for all but the insanely rich - millionaire country landlords with 400 acre properties in the south-west, for example.