Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Any Questions

Just listened to Any Questions; available here on listen again. If you didn't know it was a special featuring deabte between the three candidates for the Lib Dem leadership. As you will know if you pass your eye to the right (on my blog anyhow) I intend to support Menzies Campbell. This discussion softened my opinions on both other candidates namely Christ Huhne and Simon Hughes. However, in two crucial ways Campbell solidified my faith in him.

Firstly; against an admittedly friendly audience his was the most assured and confident voice. If I thought that then it is quite possible that the electorate at the next election will think that. It is not just a case of his being assured in this context; it is the fact that he the Right Hon. Sir Menzies Campbell QC OBE MP is a statesmanlike figure he sounds like and acts like a minister. Thus I think he; not the chap in the yellow taxi, nor admittedly experienced but unknown "Cameron", would be the one to bring the party an authority and credibility which it now needs. AFAICT people still recognise Lib Dem policies as positive and intelligent; thanks to Charles Kennedy they also see it as being a down to earth - sometimes too far down party; I am hoping that Ming can make people treat the party seriously and see the party as a trustworthy candidate for government.

Secondly Ming seems to fit my ideas of how the party should exist best; concentrating on traditional Liberalism that appeals to the historian in me; he snuck in references to Beveridge and John Stuart Mill and Keynes; all of them heroes in the development of Liberal Britain. His adherence to the center - anti authoritarian - left is appealing; and rings with what I understand liberalism to be. Consistently on policy he rang true.

Overall it was a good showing - relatively little major disagreement; I think though what Huhne said was good he underperformed really - the bloggers 4 Chris crowd will point to the quality of what he said, but I think he allowed himself to be ignored somewhat; and some of his best statements were so obviously in agreement to everyone else so as to be pointless. I think the whole affair was a good showcase for the Lib Dem front bench of tomorrow.

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