The end of Chris Huhne’s career in politics: initial reactions

huhne quitsChris Huhne’s political career is over. That’s not a sentence I expected to be typing today.

I had thought Chris would somehow squeak through his court case by the skin of his teeth. Certainly when I spoke to Chris at the last Lib Dem conference he was confident (his default mode, it’s true, but still). But now his career lies in tatters.

Last year he resigned as a cabinet minister; this year he’ll resign as an MP. And all over a speeding charge – or more to the point his attempt to cover up a speeding charge. It’s always, always the lie that kills you.

A couple of tweets caught my eye. First, Olly Grender’s mortification at having robustly defended Chris from all-comers, a reminder that lying isn’t a victimless crime:

 

But also a reminder from Lord (Chris) Rennard that however hard his downfall, Chris’s career – especially as Energy and Climate Change secretary – was not without its successes:

 

Many other Lib Dems will be reflecting on the bullet the party dodged. Chris stood for the party leadership twice – though he was easily defeated by Ming Campbell in 2006, only the slimmest of wafer-thin margins prevented him from beating Nick Clegg in 2007. I was one of those who voted for him, even did some phone canvassing for him. (On the QT as I wanted to stay publicly neutral as LDV’s then sole editor.) Whither the party now if he had won?

And of course attention will now turn to the forthcoming by-election. Eastleigh is a marginal seat. Chris had a majority of 3,864, and a 3.5% swing to the Tories would turn the seat blue. That said, the party’s incredibly strong locally. It will be a fascinating event, not least because this is the first modern by-election where two governing parties will be competing fiervcely against each other.

As legal proceedings are currently taking place, personal comments about either Vicky or Chris won’t be published at least until the trial has concluded and then only if they’re in accordance with our published comments policy.

* Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, and editor of the 2013 publication, The Coalition and Beyond: Liberal Reforms for the Decade Ahead. He is also a Research Associate for the liberal think-tank CentreForum and writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.

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78 Comments

  • I disagree that it’s a horrific day to be a Lib Dem. Parties as a whole should not be judged on the private actions of individuals.

  • The good new is that by stepping down from the cabinet a year ago, most of the GBP will be saying “Whuhne?”

  • There are only five Lib Dem cabinet members. One had to resign because of expenses, another has admitted to perverting the course of justice. third was caught out making unwise comments to two pretty journalists and had a very important part of his portfolio removed from him, a fourth (the Leader of this gang of five) was forced to make a public apology for making a promise he didn’t know he could keep, after promising ‘no more broken promises’. . All this in the space of 30 month or thereabouts. It’s not great, really, is it?

  • Tabman 4th Feb ’13 – 12:49pm
    The good new is that by stepping down from the cabinet a year ago, most of the GBP will be saying “Whuhne?”

    : D

  • Richard Dean 4th Feb '13 - 1:11pm

    He has done a great disservice to the LibDems.

  • David Allen 4th Feb '13 - 1:13pm

    “Whither the party now if Huhne had won?”

    Oh, pretty bad, obviously. But not as bad as what actually happened.

  • Isn’t life strange, this happens on the day that they get the DNA confirmation on Richard III. This means that the top 2 stories on the beeb web site are about how the mighty have fallen (separated by hundreds of years).

    I suppose he can console himself that he won’t end up under a Leicester car park.

  • Remarkably, NONE of those commenting on Chris Huhne have ever shared speeding points with a partner .

    Not even the estimated 5 million who’ve done this since 2003

  • Simon Shaw 4th Feb ’13 – 1:24pm
    @Phyllis
    third was caught out making unwise comments to two pretty journalists and had a very important part of his portfolio removed from him”

    Tell me, Phyllis, would that be the Lib Dem Cabinet Minister whose comments were proved to be totally justified by subsequent events?

    The two are totally separate things. I agreed with his comments about Murdoch (he wasn’t exactly the only one to hold them) but what he did showed appallingly bad judgement in blurting things out to two strangers.

  • Strangely, the reason I didn’t vote for Huhne in the leadership election despite liking his policy platform was that I always had nagging doubts about his judgment. There were too many examples of things where he seemed to shoot from the hip without thinking things through. On the other hand, I take no satisfaction in this view turning out to be correct.

    It is sad day for all of us – and, indeed for anyone who hopes for a revival of respect for politicians.

  • @Phyllis

    I could’t agree more. It’s a very sad state of affairs when 80% of the Liberal Democrat Ministers in this government have been caught up in these scandals.
    They are well and truly giving the Tories a good run for their money with this sort of behaviour, but with Tories it is more expected.

  • Matt, thanks. And did Nick Clegg not make promises at the last election about ‘cleaning up politics’. I think that is one of the four promises on the front of the Lib Dem Manifesto. If I recall, he wanted to give people the right to sack MPs. Gone very quiet on that now, eh? On LBC just now they were discussing how Huhne cynically took it right to the last minute before pleading guilty, costing taxpayers tonnes of money in court time.

  • Nigel Farage may stand.

  • Julian Critchley 4th Feb '13 - 2:42pm

    Eastleigh will be lost, in my opinion. The Lib Dem vote will collapse. Tories will hold steady. Labour will increase, and there’ll be bumper vote for UKIP.

    The only question is whether UKIP will take enough votes from the Tories to outweigh the votes that Labour and the Greens will take from the LibDems. The only certainty, I should think, is that Eastleigh will not be a LibDem seat after the by-election. I’ll be putting money on that down at the bookies, if I can find one willing to take the bet.

  • Julian Critchley 4th Feb '13 - 3:03pm

    That’ll change.

    I have to say, it’s tempting to have a tenner on UKIP and Labour at those odds. Stranger things have happened in by-elections (Respect, anyone ?).

    I feel a bit sorry for Huhne. There’s no doubt that it’s an offence, although one which many of his fellow countrymen have committed. There’s also no doubt that his judgement has been terrible throughout, although I think the other main player in this domestic-turned-public vendetta has little to be proud of, judgement-wise. It’s just an all-too-human story of weakness and fear.

    Anyway, the poor folks carrying the can alongside Huhne will be the Lib-Dems in Eastleigh. It’d be nice if losing a safish seat were to help inspire a little more introspection on the part of a leadership currently doing a fine impersonation of Nelson placing the telescope to his blind eye. “Electoral wipeout ? I see no electoral wipeout ! Oh, you mean THAT electoral wipeout.”

  • mark fairclough 4th Feb '13 - 3:05pm

    In Barnsley Central our Labour Party MP went to prison for fiddling his expenses in 2011..Labour won the byelection with 62% vote , though it was on a 38% turnout

  • Julian Critchley 4th Feb '13 - 3:11pm

    Mark

    1 – The Labour Party in 2011 wasn’t part of a deeply unpopular government as the LibDems are. In by-elections, people vote against the incumbent government.

    2 – Labour has a huge tribalist vote compared to the LibDems. Even if the corrupt MP had run naked through the town centre waving his ill-gotten cash and shouting “I don’t care, I’m going to fiddle my expenses again”, then he’d still have been re-elected. That simply isn’t the case for the LibDems in Eastleigh.

    I predict lots of brave face statements from local and national party figures saying that everyone they speak to says that they’re staying loyal and it won’t affect their vote. Then the great majority of voters who don’t get a vox-pop on the telly, or speak personally to a party worker, will go to the ballot box and Eastleigh will no longer be yellow.

    It’ll be interesting to see how the nationalist and extreme nationalist wings of the right (Tories and UKIP) manage to try and stitch this one up between them. I imagine the phone lines between Cameron and Farage are glowing hot as we type.

  • Bill Chapman 4th Feb '13 - 3:17pm

    It looks like a sensational UKIP by-election victory on the cards.

  • Julian Critchley

    I would have had more sympathy for Huhne if he had simply put his hands up at the start – as you say appalling judgement. Guido Fawkes has tweeted the text messages from the Huhne’s son which make very uncomfortable reading. It’s the kids I feel sorry for.

  • OK, just a few points on this. Firstly, @phyllis, I prefer my politicians to say the same thing in private as they do in public. That’s exactly what Vince Cable did – it’s just that the Tories didn’t particularly like what he said (and let’s face it, the man who took over those responsibilities, Jeremy Hunt, wasn’t exactly whiter than white when it came to his own views of Murdoch, given that he’d lavished praise on him in the past.)

    @MarkG, I shared those views about Huhne too. I felt that it was always a bit suspect that you’d stand as leader when your own constituency majority was pretty shaky – I do think that if we had elected Huhne, there was a real risk that his seat would have been lost in 2010 simply because he couldn’t put time into it.

    @Julian Critchley – in a lot of other Lib Dem seats I might have been inclined to agree. But this is Eastleigh, where in the 2011 local elections we managed to get over 90% of councillors on the council, at the same time as we were losing seats hand over fist elsewhere (particularly in Scotland.) I think it’ll be close – Labour will try a spoiling, negative campaign even though we can’t win – but a strong UKIP vote will probably mean the Lib Dems would shade it.

  • Steve Griffiths 4th Feb '13 - 3:38pm

    Well where are the ‘Orange Bookers’ now? Chris Huhne – resigned as minister and now as MP; Mark Oaten – resigned as party spokesman over scandal and did not re-contest his seat; David Laws – resigned as minister over expenses issue; Nick Clegg promised in a party political broadcast “an end to broken promises” and wanted to see a “new way of doing politics”, then had to give a grovelling apology for going back to the old ways of politics by breaking the fees pledge. As Phyllis pointed out above, even Vince had an important part of his portfolio taken off him for being somewhat indescrete.

    I weep for a once great party that I was proud to be a part of for 40 years. I was there during Thorpe and all his works and this feels worse.

  • Worth a tenner on UKIP at 33/1; none of the other odds looks appealing.

  • Keith

    “Firstly, @phyllis, I prefer my politicians to say the same thing in private as they do in public. That’s exactly what Vince Cable did – it’s just that the Tories didn’t particularly like what he said ….

    Erm -really?? You didn’t find it cringeworthy? I actually agreed with him but really let’s face it, it was a bit of an own goal. He just made himself look silly boasting to a couple of pretty girls and then had the job taken off him. Not very wise. He’d have shown better judgement keeping his powder dry.

  • Old Codger Chris 4th Feb '13 - 3:54pm

    Olly Grender has nothing to apologise for. Standing up for someone you believe to be innocent is praiseworthy. There’s nothing wrong in believing that someone is telling the truth unless it’s blindingly obvious they’re lying.

  • I wouldn’t be surprised to see David Laws becoming the new leader of the party once Clegg has gone.

  • mark fairclough 4th Feb '13 - 4:07pm

    i wouldnt be surprised at a UKIP victory, but i think its 3 way fight. A decent UKIP vote would help the LIBDEMS

  • Julian, you’ll probably be able to lay the Lib Dems on Betfair, assuming they open a market. I expect that’s the easiest way to bet ‘not a Lib Dem’.

  • jenny barnes 4th Feb '13 - 4:45pm

    If huhne had been elected leader, rather than Clegg, we would be having a leadership election shortly. Which would be interesting.

  • Paul in twickenham 4th Feb '13 - 5:08pm

    Phyllis
    And on the basis of your comments it would seem that that you advocate MPs being “economical with the actualite” when meeting people who purport to be constituents. Would your attempt to imply Cable was foolish be replaced by anger if you heard that he had deliberately misled or stonewalled constituents? Personally I find it sad that MPs must assume that everyone who speaks with them is a journalist looking for a juicy story. And I find it quite amusing that time has proven Cable exactly right on the matter.

  • @Paul in twickenham

    Wasn’t he supposed to be acting in a quasi judicial manner?

  • paul barker 4th Feb '13 - 5:27pm

    If Huhne had been leader we would still be in Coalition, the Deputy PM of Britain would be facing prison – how would the markets react to that ?
    The members who think we are having a bad time now should be thankful we elected the right man.

  • Mike Falchikov 4th Feb '13 - 5:32pm

    A sad day for Chris Huhne’s family – and for the party. But you have to wonder why he did it in the first place. An
    intelligent, ambitious man and, from what one hears, a tough fighter for causes he believed in, is this a case of arrogance taking over – a feeling he was untouchable? Probably quite a lot of people in public life fall prey to this from time to time, so Chris Huhne’s case perhaps serves as a warning, though it seems absurd that it should have arisen from something so trivial as getting points on your licence – even if this had led to a short ban, so what? He wasn’t short of a bob or two and could easily have used taxis or even hired a chauffeur for such occasions. And I’m astonished at the contributors who seem to regard “sharing your points” as OK – it isn’t , it’s dishonest.

  • @paul barker

    “The members who think we are having a bad time now should be thankful we elected the right man.”

    That is very amusing, but I think you should be more thankful to the royal mail for the late Christmas post and all the postal votes that got caught up in it

  • “Paul in twickenham 4th Feb ’13 – 5:08pm
    Phyllis
    And on the basis of your comments it would seem that that you advocate MPs being “economical with the actualite” when meeting people who purport to be constituents. Would your attempt to imply Cable was foolish be replaced by anger if you heard that he had deliberately misled or stonewalled constituents? Personally I find it sad that MPs must assume that everyone who speaks with them is a journalist looking for a juicy story. And I find it quite amusing that time has proven Cable exactly right on the matter.”

    There was no question of misleading or stonewalling. He volunteered the information to big himself up. And bragged about ‘the nuclear option’. Honestly can you seriously not see this? Not to mention that he shouldn’t have been talking about it all.

  • Tis such a trivial and ridiculous thing to lie about. Honestly, my mind is fair boggled .

  • Stuart Mitchell 4th Feb '13 - 6:32pm

    I’m just amazed that there are so many people who had faith in Huhne right up to the moment he pleaded guilty. Huhne should have resigned two and a half years ago when he left his wife for his long-term mistress just weeks after publishing an election leaflet in which a photo of him and his wife weas captioned: “Family matters to me so much. Where would we be without them?” Whatever qualities Huhne may possess, trustworthiness never seemed likely to be one of them.

  • @Paul in twickenham
    It is not stonewalling or misleading to tell someone that you cannot comment on an issue where you sit in quasi judicial judgment. We expect the Judiciary to do likewise and even jurors without the experience and training of either an MP or a Judge are under pain of Contempt of Court not to discuss certain aspects of a case….

  • David Allen 4th Feb '13 - 7:05pm

    This could be the last straw.

    Britain needs a political party which isn’t in the pockets of powerful vested interests and can fight for the rights of individuals. But – is it now time to give up on the Liberal Democrats, liquidate a failing enterprise, and start afresh?

  • Keith Browning 4th Feb '13 - 7:36pm

    Politicians and people in positions of power lie to us every day, and about far more important things than speeding tickets – but they wrap it up in terms like commercial confidentiality or national security.

  • Steve Griffiths 4th Feb '13 - 8:20pm

    @David Allen

    “Britain needs a political party which isn’t in the pockets of powerful vested interests and can fight for the rights of individuals. But – is it now time to give up on the Liberal Democrats, liquidate a failing enterprise, and start afresh?”

    David, you have expressed that view before in other threads on this site and I must say I’m begining to warm to it. Maybe the neo-economic liberals who have dragged this party in their desired direction should now let the left of the party have a go at restoring some credibility in the eyes of the public. They can’t make a worse job than the right at running the party and they may have a chance of uniting a fractured movement.

  • It is time to start again, and Phyllis is correct too about the cabinet members.

  • Tony Dawson 4th Feb '13 - 11:09pm

    @Tabman:

    “Parties as a whole should not be judged on the private actions of individuals.”
    Indeed, they should be judged by their own actions in part how they deal with individuals. As District Party Chair a decade or so ago, I suspended candidates who were facing far lesser charges than these.

    I also sat round a dining table a week ago,well before this trial started, where a senior Eastleigh Lib Dem did not disagree that Chris Huhne’s political career was likely finished whatever the outcome of the trial. The whole thing was dragged out for a year unnecessarily in a way which did no good for the Liberal Democrats.

  • It really annoys me how car drivers see speeding and taking points for someone as a minor offence. It is not because it’s ultimately about safety and people’s lives. Yet so many of you dismiss it as trivial?! Nonetheless I don’t think it’s crime of the century and I hope chris Huhne manages to rebuild his life after this. As for the by election, the lib Dems will romp home

  • Kevin Colwill 5th Feb '13 - 8:08am

    OK, Huhne is politically dead so let’s move on quick… that it?

    I think Huhne will cast a longer and darker shadow than many believe. The heavy irony is this affair plays against the narrative of the Lib Dems going into self sacrifice mode as they went into coalition for the national good. It does, however, sit rather well with the Lib Dems selling their souls for a little taste of power.

    As for the by-election. The Lib Dems, Huhne or no Huhne, have a hard sell. You can’t exactly say “us or the Tories” with a straight face anymore.

    Labour can’t win (do the maths) which leaves the Tories or UKIP.

    My uninformed guess is UKIP won’t win because they won’t get enough of the former Lib Dem vote ,some people may vote UKIP to kick the government but they’re hardly a natural home for what we used to call progressives.
    The Lib Dem vote won’t totally collapse ‘cos there’s no where else for the voters to go.

    The Tories win, almost by default, because their vote holds up amid the chaos.

  • mark fairclough 5th Feb '13 - 8:25am

    @kevin , it depends how many Tories vote UKIP

  • Incredibly sad because Chris has always been one of the good guys. A possible demonstration of the lack of correlation betwwn intellect and common sense.
    I still predict that this incident will be forgotten long before the betrayal by our party over Tuition fees.

  • Richard Harris 5th Feb '13 - 11:41am

    A party should never be judged by the actions of one man, but the party’s reaction to an incident will be used to judge it. There are just too many Lib Dems expressing sympathy with a man that tried to cover up a crime for personal gain and held on until the last moment before admitting to it. But this is forgivable because he was a good MP. After welcoming Laws back following his “misinterpretation” of the rules, the party has gained in record time a reputation for one set of rules for society, another for politicians (especially those hard working ones that show promise apparently).

  • I just noticed the Telegrapgh reporting http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/9849486/Chris-Huhne-wont-be-expelled-from-Lib-Dems.html
    That Chriss Huhne will not be expelled by the party.
    I know he has resigned his seat, However, this seems “if true” absolute craziness for the Liberal Democrats not to expel him as well. His actions betrayed his constituents, the party and the electorate as a whole due to his lies not to mention the added cost to the tax payers for dragging out this lie.
    If Huhne was not expelled it would mean he would still be able to attend conferences, campaign for the party, raise funds, lobby for the party etc.
    That would be a huge mistake for the party and further damage it’s reputation. {if the article is true that is}

  • You would think that the Lib Dems wanted to help their opponents by giving them so much ammunition!

  • Peter Watson 5th Feb '13 - 12:25pm

    @Kevin Colwill “Labour can’t win (do the maths) which leaves the Tories or UKIP.”
    I wouldn’t be so sure. Looking back over previous elections, although in 3rd place Labour’s share in Eastleigh was:
    10% (2010), 21% (2005), 22% (2001), 27% (2007). Tory leakage to UKIP, LD leakage to Labour – perhaps it could be a very interesting four horse race.

    Also, I think it’s the first LD-Tory byelection of this parliament and will receive a lot of publicity, so could prove damaging to one or both of the coalition parties whatever the outcome.

  • @Peter Watson
    I would tend to agree with you, Labour are going to obviously play down their chances but I think they could sneak in. Also of note is that there may be many Conservatives who, secretly, may like the idea of losing.
    There are quite a few who seem to feel that if Eastleigh is lost then it may provide a way of ousting Cameron. If that happens then I would say all bets on coalition survival are off.

  • “But this is Eastleigh, where in the 2011 local elections we managed to get over 90% of councillors on the council, at the same time as we were losing seats hand over fist elsewhere (particularly in Scotland.)”

    The trouble is that we’re also told this is a constituency where the Lib Dems are extremely well organised and the Tories rather poorly organised. Do those local election results show that the vote in Eastleigh is holding up better than national polls would indicate, or do they reflect the effect of superior party organisation in an election where the turnout was only about half of that in the 2010 election?

    At any rate I don’t think too much trust can be placed in the fact that the Lib Dems have 90% of the councillors. At the time of the previous general election they had more than 70% and the Tories came within a few hundred votes of taking the seat.

  • David Allen 5th Feb '13 - 12:56pm

    @ Steve Griffiths

    “Maybe the neo-economic liberals …should now let the left of the party have a go at restoring some credibility in the eyes of the public. ”

    Yes, that is indeed what I have been saying for a long time, but, I am now wondering if it is even viable.

    If you manage a failing brand, your first impulse should be to rescue it by making big dramatic changes. Reshape the baked bean tin, go for a brand new image, or sack the newspaper editor. Leave in place the manufacturing plant and the distribution network, because those would be hard to rebuild.

    However, what do you do if the public laugh at your reshaped bean tin, and exclaim that your beans still taste rubbish? What do you do if everybody thinks your jerry-built bean factory is a health hazard, that your sales techniques are dubious, or in the case of a newspaper, that even a change of editor would not stand a chance of restoring trust?

    The answer is, you do what Murdoch did, and ditch the failing “News of the World” brand. You do that so as to come back stronger, but you know that you have to come back with something genuinely different. Whatever you need to do to get away from a tainted reputation, that’s what you must do. Despite the costs of rebuilding, that obsolete factory etc will have to go. To change my metaphors, it just isn’t worth trying to paint any more lipstick onto your pig.

    Have we reached that point with the Liberal Democrat Party?

  • Eastleigh had been very strong for Labour, due to the main railway works and depot at the heart of the town. If “the boot were on the other foot” as it were, and Lib Dems were fighting to take the seat from 10% with a good history, in say, 1994, we would have swept all before us. This is a test of Labour’s campaigning virility. If they take it seriously, UKIP’s high profile intervention will help them not hinder. If they don’t the Lib Dem could be returned (even though that would not be a deserved result in these circumstances).

  • If the Liberal Democrats, Tories, Labour, and UKIP all make a strong campaign for the seat, isn’t it possible that the winner could come in with only 30% of the vote?

  • LibDems can’t lose in Eastleigh!

    Whether or not a Conservative wins, Cameron will be weakened – either his grip on the leadership on his party is weakened or his grip on the leadership of the country is.
    If Labour advance, it increases the chances for a right-winger replacing the LibDem and reduces the likelihood of a Lib-Lab coalition later. If they don’t Labour’s prospects for picking up seats in the South and an overall majority are reduced. Either way Miliband is weakened.
    If UKIP don’t overtake the LibDems, they’re going backwards and will be said to have peaked. A solid showing splits the Eurosceptic vote and bolsters the current LibDem majority. Either way Farage is weakened.

    This is a by-election wanted by no other party.

  • mark fairclough 5th Feb '13 - 4:33pm

    I dont think Labour will win Eastleigh, i think it could end up being LIBDEM, Conservative , UKIP , fight . The interesting thing will be the Labour & UKIP percentage of votes

  • Tom Richards 5th Feb '13 - 4:37pm

    absolutely outrageous (and selfish) behavior from him from start to finish. and I say that as someone who (apparently foolishly) preferred him to clegg in the leadership election,

  • “LibDems can’t lose in Eastleigh!”

    This sort of thing is more convincing if you save it until after the election. People tend to think politicians claim the result is good for them whatever happens, and you’ve just demonstrated it’s true.

  • David Allen – good idea – off you pop and set up your new brand! :)

  • Tabman 5th Feb ’13 – 5:33pm
    David Allen – good idea – off you pop and set up your new brand!

    Ooooh, patronising much?!

  • Tom Richards – I went to one of the debates in ’07 and Huhne, to be frank, came across as insincere. He seemed to be opposing what Nick said not because he disagreed with him, but purely to press the hot-buttons of a certain section of the party. I didn’t like the way he was telling them what they wanted to hear not what they ought to hear.

    That said, I think he must have been betting on his ex-wife not going down the M.A.D route in such a spectacular way.

  • Phyllis – why is that patronising? If Mr Allen believes enough that the current “brand” is too contaminated to persist, he should have sufficient courage in his own convictions to set up a “brand” in competition. If he’s right, it will win in the competitive crucible of the electoral marketplace. If he’s wrong, then his ideas have no currency.

  • Tab man

    “Off you pop” ?? You don’t consider that patronising?? Erm ok then. :/

  • David Allen 5th Feb '13 - 11:59pm

    Phyllis,

    Tabman always talks like that, I don’t think he knows any other way!

  • Phyllis – I note you choose to focus on my rather jocular language rather than address the serious point that I’m making – namely that if the “brand” is so “tarnished” that only a relaunch will do, surely the thing for Mr Allen and those of similar mind is to set up a new party free from the taint of the past and with policies that he and those of similar view can support; an experiment I seem to recall being tried with some success in the 1980s.

    That you don’t address that point but choose to go ad hominem tells its own story.

  • Tabman

    “That you don’t address that point but choose to go ad hominem tells its own story.”

    I didn’t address the ‘serious point ‘ as you call it, because I simply have no view on that. I’m not a Lib Dem and it’s not my party so it’s not for me to tell you what to do. I did however, have a view about ‘off you pop’ – I found it patronising. You thought it ‘jocular’. It’s perhaps no bad thing to have some insight into other’s perceptions about our ‘jokes’ and how funny or otherwise they are. I don’t think my comment was ‘ad hominem’ at all, just an observation on the language used.

  • No by-election is ‘in the bag’ for any party and there is everything to campaign for.
    Even in a recent election when Labour was making gains against the coalition parties failed to
    hold on to the expected safe seat of Bradford where the Respect party unseated Labour councillors and then
    George Galloway became the MP.
    If you believe your party has good policies then you should campaign for those policies.

    Liberal Democrats should be out in the constituency doing what we LDs do best and that is campaign to win votes.

  • David Allen 5th Feb ’13 – 11:59pm
    Phyllis,

    ” Tabman always talks like that, I don’t think he knows any other way!”

    Ah ok then, thanks. I’ll put a mental filter on ;)

  • Phyllis – you accused me of being patronising; if that’s not ad hominem I don’t know what is.

    But seeing as you claim to be of no party, I’d be interested in your view as to whether Mr Allen’s brave new socialist party will be a goer or not.

  • Tabman “Phyllis – you accused me of being patronising; if that’s not ad hominem I don’t know what is.

    But seeing as you claim to be of no party, I’d be interested in your view as to whether Mr Allen’s brave new socialist party will be a goer or not.”

    Not at all, I was commenting on the words not the person.

    When I have a view on comments made by others, I respond directly to them citing their comment and offering my view, whether supportive or critical. I have made no comment to David Allen because as I have already said to you, I simply have no view one way or another. My focus is actually on the fall-out of SSM and the upcoming bye-election at the moment. That and getting the dishes done. Tatty-bye!!

  • Patrick Smith 8th Feb '13 - 5:47pm

    I predict that given a good throw of new Liberal Democrat Focus moondust on the voters and par excellence campaign management the newly selected L/D candidate in Eastleigh, will retain the Seat and thus will continue to earn respect from the people as an honourable MP, in character and duty first, every day.

    I believe that the constituents will look again at our new L/D candidate In Eastleigh and remember that the sum value of electing them is worth, so much more, than one man`s folly.

  • Chris impressed me over the years, always felt he was an effective and impressive campaigner and later made strides as Energy Secretary. However, bit of a flawed character, though feel he has been vilified too much by some sections of the media. Of course he erred but there have been far worse characters and clear he had some enemies.

    Latest poll puts Liberal Democrats 3 points ahead,, tough fight but in the circumstances that the party has a fighting chance is good news.

  • Will we lose votes to UKIP?

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