Monday, October 15, 2007

Campbell in the soup (again)

I know I forecast that Ming wouldn't make it to New Year, but I did think he'd survive the weekend.

This time, the end was swift and relatively painless for the Liberal Democrats. No repeat of the elongated assassination of Kennedy - the plotters and the backroom boys have got the hang of this now.

At lunchtime, Vince Cable popped up on BBC Radio to tell us that the leadership was under discussion, but `
'I don't think it's under threat and I think the key point for all our activists and MPs and lords is that we shouldn't panic in what is a very volatile political environment.'

Within hours, Vince had reversed his position.
'There was a very open debate about this immediately that Gordon Brown made his decision to postpone the election. I think he took a fresh look at where he stood ... and decided the best thing he could do in the interests of the party was to step aside.'
Curiously, for a proud and (actually) rather respected man, Ming didn't announce the decision himself, but left it up to Simon 'Backstabber' Hughes and Vince 'Undertaker' Cable, suggesting that it might not have been as voluntary as the Cowley Street spin would have you believe. Perhaps Ming was given the opportunity to do the decent thing - the old-fashioned revolver left conveniently on the desk (the traditional bottle of whiskey having been removed following an unfortunate accident involving the previous incumbent) and a trust that the man would know what he had to do.

So, who will succeed him (a most unfortunate term in view of the Liberal Democrat poll standings)? Chris Huhne and Nick Clegg are the immediate front runners, although the party should have one eye on Huhne's exceedingly narrow majority in the face of a Tory revival. Simon Hughes may decide to have another pop at it and there's even talk of Charlie Kennedy rising from the dead to give it a run.

But, as last time, PoliticalHack can only throw his support behind one man - the time has come for the Liberal Democrat party to elect John Hemming as leader.

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