Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Ming on Newsnight: Substance and passion

It was wonderful for Ming to get a decent period of exposure on Newsnight last night.

I thought he made his points with real passion, conviction and eloquence.

He answered the questions from the audience very fully. At the end you could see many of them nodding in agreement with him.

In particular, I thought he brilliantly put forward the party's position on tax and the environment.

It was clear from the piece that Ming is a man of substance and passion.

Rob Fenwick has assessed Ming's performance. He says:

"But ultimately Ming ducked the crucial question that two audience members alluded to - the Liberal Democrats may have a popular message, but the public aren’t at all sure about the messenger."

Do give Ming a chance, Rob. How did the audience get the message that "the Liberal Democrats may have a popular message" if not from the messenger? He came across as passionate and serious (as you concede). How on earth does he answer the question about the "messenger"?

He has three options on what to say:

1. "Yes, I am an old git but I get paid well" - The Self-Destruct option


2. "I am wonderful, my wife loves me and all my friends think I am a brilliant communicator, so yah booh sucks to you and let me read to you what the Telegraph said about me only two months ago, and I quote.......(snoring heard from man at back of audience)" - The Iain Dale option


3. Get on with it and answer the substantive questions about policy.

He took the third option.

Rob goes on breathlessly: "All eyes will be on Charles Kennedy. A natural party President, he used the role as a springboard to the leadership once before. Will he try it again?"

If he does, I hope he is well when he does so this time.


  1. "Rob Fenwick, bless him, has gone to extraordinary lengths to demolish Ming's performance. He must have been up all night doing those little screengrabs and all that text"

    Um, hardly extraordinary lengths - if you look at the time stamp on you'll see the post took half an hour to compile.

    You may also, if you were being fairer, have noted phrases in my post such as "Ming’s answers were competent. He was serious, and professional." and "Ming Campbell has done good for the Party - he’s forced us to take a hard look at ourselves, and shuffled the deckchairs to bring fresh faces in to key roles. He has indeed steadied the ship."

    Clearly my post is critical, but it's not the detached foaming at the mouth rant you're trying to portray it as.

    Thanks for the patronising guff, though - I'll know where to come for a serious debate in future...

  2. The title, with its comparison with IDS, and the "shuffled the deckchairs" with its traditional echoes of the Titanic.....this may have justified the verb "demolish".

  3. Rob

    I apologise for not doing justice to your posting in my summary. I have now modified my posting to reflect your comments.

    Funnily enough, I did check the time you posted but I assumed (obviously wrongly) that you posted and then updated the post keeping the original posting time, as you can do (I do it a lot).

    All the best

  4. Hi, thanks for updating - and I can confirm I was tucked up in bed very shortly after the posting time register on Lib Dem Blogs

  5. I thought Ming was very poor, and the word is that some of our MPs are reviewing their positions with talk of a challenger being put up, whether it is a stalking horse or not remains to be seen.

    One thing which troubles me, however, is this article which shows that our Scottish leader is going to be holding a meeting with Jeb Bush, a move which I think totally undermines our stance against the Bush administration, given Jeb's integral role.

  6. Jeb is the governor of Florida. He is selling oranges. Meeting someone does not undermine your stance against them.

  7. It was car-crash telly. He just looked like a Werther's Grandad out of his depth and sadly unaware of his own irrelevance.

  8. "It was car-crash telly." Very original Edward - precisely the phrase Iain Dale used in the blog which you read before you clicked the link to come here.