Saturday, May 12, 2007

Lay off Ming!

Well done to Richard Huzzey for an excellent piece on the aftermath of the May 3rd elections.

I particularly agreed with this point:

Locally, we need to strengthen and expand the party’s excellent training and mentoring programmes so best practice is spread more widely.

It is amazing how, with years of incumbency, the campaigning instincts and skills of members get dulled.

We got a pounding here in West Berkshire (although we actually won back two seats, got David Rendel elected to the council and held control of the two town councils), so you would expect people like me to be at the forefront of blaming the leadership.

Not a bit of it. If we can win councils like Hull and Eastbourne, is it Ming's fault if we lose elsewhere? Incumbency, the Cameron effect, forgetting some of our campaigning methods and the Tories getting smart in theirs...these all have their impact.

Hywel Morgan put it brilliantly in a comment on LibDem voice:

If people point to the impact that Nick and Chris have made in their spokesperson roles then (a) it seems fairly minimal and (b) nowhere near that established by Ming in Foreign Affairs before he became leader.

The failings of the party since Ming became leader are firstly not that massive (the issue is learning the lessons from them for the future) but secondly would have arisen even if Charles had remained leader so to lay them at Mings door is missing the point.

I have been greatly amused by Iain Dale sniffing around trying to either find unrealistic LibDem commenters to laugh at (I usually fall into that category) or finding people who, in his eyes, have "smelt the coffee" and are getting mutinous.

I am not in the Liberal Democrats solely to win. That will no doubt get quoted and laughed at, but it is not the primary point. Having just recovered from the bruises on my feet due to recent pavement pounding, I have slogged away since 1987 as a member, and since 1970 as a supporter, because I believe in Liberalism and in advocating and spreading it. Of course, winning is an objective but if it was the sole objective, then I would have drifted around from party to party dependent on the political tide at the time, in order to experience winning.

If anyone thinks I am going to be shifted off course by the arrival of that idiot David Cameron, they have another think coming.


  1. Good post: here in Scarborough and Whitby we got enormous help from our regional party in the form of a campaign officer. Having outside help, encouragement, advice and prodding made us smarten up our act, deploy our limited resources to better effect. Result? Before wehad a duet of councillors now we have a group of six, Tories at the count looking like, as someone had put it, someone had 'run over their goldfish'. After the last general election we went into a year-long coma, now we have a group who have told the Tories where to shove their coalition offer, and activists anxious to get out thank you leaflets and knock on doors again. A lot of this is down to improved party organisation raising expectations in constituencies like ours. Talk of ditching Ming does us no good, and we don't want our talented younger leaders in waiting to hurl themselves on the Tory bayonets following a Ming coup, fomented by columnists and bloggers who have no love for us.

  2. Your reason for being in the LibDems is what I view as the strength of the LibDems.
    For example, Ming had the opportunity of power in government if he'd gone to Labour or the Tories (both of whom seem to have wanted him) yet he stayed with the LibDems because he's a liberal.

    Look at David Laws - The Tories make no bones about thinking he should be a Tory, but he is a liberal and is in the LibDems because we are a (broadly) liberal party.

    As for the Iain Dale's of this world - I'm rather flattered that they think its more important to attack us than Labour - shows who the real threat is :)

  3. Thank you Peter and Tristan for those comments. And well done Peter and your team for the success in Scarborough and Whitby.