Pausing for breath

For ease of reference, I decided to compile a page containing all my posts on about politics and the Lib Dems since I started writing about the subject back in January when the leadership stuff kicked off. There’s nothing new here, it’s just for reference.

Nailing my colours to the mast

7 January 2006

That photo of me and the boss taken during the 2001 general election, when we both had fewer chins, should illustrate where I stand in the madness that’s currently gripping a miniscule proportion of the Liberal Democrat party, namely the ones with the letters “MP” after their names. I post it not to show off, but simply to make it clear that, during a period when most of Charles Kennedy’s supposed allies are retreating from him faster than an Italian tank regiment, some of us are proud to have been associated with him and don’t mind who knows it.

Strange days

7 January 2006

Ah, bugger it.

Grey today, gold tomorrow

13 January 2006

I’m working from home today – a real delight after a pretty grim journey on the Tube yesterday. But I can’t believe how cold and gloomy it is. Midday and I’ve got the light on, even though I’m next to a window, and a fan heater blowing. Tomorrow should be interesting – we’re going to the Lib Dem “Meeting the Challenge” conference / workshop, which was supposed to be a big get-together to discuss the philosophical underpinnings of party policy and to re-examine whether we were going in the right direction. Of course, it will now become a beauty parade of the leadership contenders.

Meeting the Challenge I

14 January 2006

First batch of thoughts from today’s Lib Dem Meeting the Challenge conference at the London School of Economics, where the four leadership candidates spoke.

Meeting the Challenge II

15 January 2006

Here’s the second post on Saturday’s Meeting the Challenge conference – this one’s on the leadership candidates’ speeches.

Alas, poor Mark

19 January 2006

So Mark Oaten has departed from the Lib Dem leadership race, his campaign having been met with a certain amount of derision and rather a lot of underwhelmed silence. While some people clearly have a lot of faith in him and others were out to get him from the start, most gave him a fair shot and were simply unimpressed.

Answering the question

20 January 2006

Last night Ming Campbell was on Question Time, a programme that generally drives me barmy because I find myself wanting to hurl abuse (and chairs) at the screen.

It never rains but it pours

21 January 2006

I’m no fan of Mark Oaten, as I think I’ve made clear, but this is rather a shame. The thing I’m saddest to see is him apologising to his family – immediately revealing the furtive sordidness of it all.

Extra time follows own goal

22 January 2006

Went out again today taking more photos for a Lib Dem leaflet (we don’t call them ‘Focus’ around here, unlike the rest of the country, we call them ‘Democrat’ – historical reasons).

What the public wants

23 January 2006

The last 20 visits to this blog from Google used the following search terms, just so you know what the world is interested in… depressing, isn’t it?

Small earthquake in Southwark – not many dead

26 January 2006

So Simon Hughes is bisexual, is he? Never would have guessed it. Next week in your Soaraway Sun: fire bad, tree pretty.

Better than badminton

27 January 2006

Finally have time to write up my thoughts about the Any Questions leadership debate, from the perspective of being in the audience.

The numbers game

27 January 2006

For me, the most interesting thing about today’s dismal poll figures in the Telegraph is the way they bear out the analysis offered at the Meeting the Challenge conference by a psephologist whose name, alas, escapes me.

Here we go round the bloody mulberry bush again

29 January 2006

Isn’t it completely predictable? Having knocked down CK, Mark Oaten and Simon Hughes (not exactly difficult tasks, admittedly) it’s now time for for the guns to be turned on Ming.

My crystal balls

30 January 2006

I believe that two things are going to happen in British poli
tics over the next few years.

Ming Campbell’s Achilles heel

5 February 2006

I was phone canvassed by the Campbell campaign yesterday and the combination of that and some conversations I’ve had with members in my local party suggest exactly why my favoured choice for leader isn’t waltzing home unchallenged – why, in fact, he is quite likely to lose to Chris Huhne.

Well done, children

8 February 2006

There now – see what happens when everyone plays nicely?

Way-hay for risk-taking

8 February 2006

We’d better win the Dunfermline by-election – I just nipped into William Hill during my lunch hour and put a tenner down at 10-1. If it all turns out to be spin I shall be demanding a refund from Chris Rennard. :o)

Ming tells it like it is

8 February 2006

Well said that man!

Things always look brighter after the storm

10 February 2006

Well stuff me sideways with a yaffle iron, as the man once said. We won in Dunfermline. I’m frankly astonished and delighted – I thought in the end that it was going to be a near miss, which would have been a great result in itself. Suitable donation on its way to party funds.

Job vacancy

12 February 2006

It’s a little-known fact that Dr Vincent Cable – the Lib Dems’ grimly northern, silent-movie-villain Shadow Chancellor – is actually rather buff when stripped to shorts and t-shirt.

Chris Huhne: Just say ‘no’

14 July 2006

Whole books have been written on the ideal qualities of a leader: the ability to inspire – coolness under fire – broad strategy combined with tactical nous – high principles tempered by low cunning – luck, as well as judgement. Fewer have been written about the failings that leaders must avoid – even though one failing can trump a whole hatful of qualities.

Poor old Lembit

16 February 2006

The man was just born unlucky – what were the odds of this?

Crick on Huhne: He’s not the Messiah, he’s a very naughty boy

18 February 2006

Ahem. In recent days I have made it pretty clear that I don’t want to see the election for the leader of the Liberal Democrats won by Chris Huhne. From this, readers may have drawn the conclusion that I want to him to lose. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Coming from behind with a late surge

24 February 2006

I have finally allowed my name to be included on Ming Campbell’s list of website supporters – somewhat late in the day, I admit, but it seemed the right time at last. Anyone who’s been following this journal right through from when I stopped writing about buttocks, dead people, shopping trollies and the North Circular, and started writing about politics, will remember it took me quite a while to decide to vote for him.

It must be true – it was in the paper

25 February 2006

Chris is winning! No – Ming is winning! Bloody hell – just count the votes already.

Winners and losers

2 March 2006

With the result of the leadership election just hours away, it’s time to look at the winners and losers from the campaign.

Golden boy

14 March 2006

I’m taking part in a discussion at the moment that asks people why they first joined the Lib Dems. I got so many good memories writing my answer that I thought I’d cross-post an expanded verion of it here.

Going for Goldsworthy

18 March 2006

The first installment of Channel 4’s The Games has just ended, with Cornish Liberal Democrat MP Julia Goldsworthy placed third of five in the women’s contest after suffering a dunking in the white-water kayaking despite being the pre-contest favourite.

Tories shoot themselves in the foot in Bromley

4 June 2006

The shiny new Tory Party looks a little less shiny today, after its Bromley members last night rejected two high-fliers from David Cameron’s A-List as their Parliamentary by-election candidate in favour of a middle-aged wh
ite male Freemason from Tower Hamlets who seems to represent everything the Tories are supposed to be moving away from.

On Mingness and Cameronality

8 June 2006

So Ming scored a direct hit at PMQs today, then. He must have done, because everyone’s saying he did. And that rather highlights the problem with this leadership business. Ming’s success today was partly because he left Tony Blair gasping like a newly-landed haddock, and partly because people were prepared to report that he did.

Ming pulls it off

8 June 2006

It’s a funny old world when the replacement of a media-conscious young leader with a silver-haired patrician is the cue for the first ever free-for-all interview between a party leader and a bunch of bloggers.

The Mingterview, part one

9 June 2006

I’d been a critical supporter of Ming in the leadership contest, grown increasingly worried over the months that followed by the ease with which he was undermined by the opposition, but greatly reassured by his performance a couple of hours earlier as he made his big speech. I wasn’t in a mood for Paxmaning him, as I might have been if he’d fluffed the speech, but I had some questions I badly wanted to know the answers to.

The Mingterview (part 2)

11 June 2006

We return to find our hero still in conversation with the leader of the Liberal Democrats, Sir Menzies Campbell, following the Mingster’s keynote speech last Thursday. Will he ask a difficult question or will he roll over and have his tummy tickled? Read on to find out…