A few months ago we received advice from Tim Montgomerie:
… you need to change party leader. Not now. Not, I suggest, until 2014. But you can’t go into the next election with Nick Clegg at the top of your ticket.
OK, on that occasion, the advice was asked for in the form of an invitation to write for this esteemed website.
But over the weekend, there was a twitterfest set off by the very same editor of ConservativeHome:
Big moment for Coalition with Vince flexing leadership muscles. I predict a deal where Clegg will stay DepPM but Cable will become LD leader
— Tim Montgomerie (@TimMontgomerie) July 21, 2012
This led to all sorts of patronising advice for the Lib Dems.
There is one essential snag with all this. It isn’t going to happen. And quite frankly, with Lembit Opik and Tim Montgomerie leading the phalanx of people suggesting it will happen, it is laughable.
OK, a recent LDV poll was headlined here “34% of Lib Dem members say Nick Clegg should stand down before 2015“. However, with all the stuff which has been kicking off since we entered government I am surprised that the 34% figure wasn’t higher. The headline should really have been “59% want Nick Clegg to stay as leader”.
I sense no mood to mess about with the leadership. This idea of Tim Montgomerie’s of Cable becoming leader while Clegg stays as DPM is just ridiculous. Cloud cuckoo land politics.
And I am not impressed by Vince Cable’s latest foray into leadership speculation. Vince Cable is an excellent Business Secretary and would make an excellent Chancellor. But he simply isn’t leadership material. “Twinkle toes” is deluding himself. He doesn’t have the charisma. Having interviewed both Clegg and Cable with other bloggers, Vince Cable is a sort of straight-laced university lecturer type. He doesn’t set the room alight, like Nick Clegg does.
Vince is a flawless economic soothsayer. I am delighted for him that he has been proved right on the Murdoch business. But let’s not get carried away. For those who think Vince has the Midas touch, remember one thing.
Vince was the architect-in-chief of the tuition fees shambles.
* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist in Newbury and West Berkshire. He is part of the Liberal Democrat Voice team and blogs at Liberal Burblings.