Tag Archives: spectator

LibLink: Danny Alexander: The Charles Kennedy I knew

Danny Alexander has been writing about his memories of Charles Kennedy for the Spectator. His first experience of him was when he was a party press office and Charles was already an MP:

The first time I spoke to him was as a young press officer for the Scottish Lib Dems, nervously recommending that we cancel a press conference because the material was not quite ready. I expected the hairdryer treatment, but he was pleased. ‘When you have nothing to say,’ he replied, ‘best say nothing at all.’ He followed his own advice — which meant that, as party leader, he did not imitate the frenetic pace of Paddy Ashdown. This earned him criticism, but his style was to pick battles carefully, and fight them well.

He supported Danny in his campaign to become an MP in 2005:

When I was selected to contest the Highland constituency next to his, then held by Labour, I expected to see little of him. I was wrong. He gave ample and generous support, letting me sit in at his constituency surgeries to better understand how Parliament works — or, more accurately, how it should work. He taught me that politicians should never lose sight of who they’re working for.

Danny talks about Charles’ Highland crofting mindset:

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged and | 1 Comment

Out on the campaign trail with Jo Swinson

The Spectator’s Isabel Hardman went up to East Dunbartonshire to go campaigning with Jo Swinson recently. Her piece is pretty balanced and fair and gives quite an insight into Jo on the campaign trail

Now, I know what a whirlwind Jo is and how much work she gets through and how many doors she knocks on. I went across to help many times during the 2005 campaign. She was so disciplined and even if she met her own high targets, she wasn’t happy unless she’d done even more.

Her campaigning experience comes across in Hardman’s profile as does her name recognition:

Swinson is also a proper local campaigner. Everyone we meet seems to have had a problem that she’s sorted out. ‘You fixed my drains!’ is something several householders exclaim as they open the door (they mean she got the council to do it, I assume, though Swinson does tell one man she used to be a girl guide, which makes me wonder if she has actually personally fixed some drains too). Even the voters who aren’t backing her say ‘I’ve got to say, you do a lot for this area. Well done.’

She also behaves like someone used to pounding pavements. When we’re knocking on doors in a sheltered housing complex, she makes sure that the fire doors don’t swing noisily shut after her, instead shutting them gently herself. This is the sort of thing people who don’t bother to knock on doors very often don’t do, because they don’t realise how much striding noisily through someone else’s property annoys them.

Hardman reckons Labour MPs are so non-plussed because they’ve never had to campaign, but it’s clearly Jo’s forte.

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 1 Comment

Clarke’s concessions on secret courts will not satisfy Liberal Democrat campaigners

Ken ClarkeIsabel Hardman has written a piece on the Spectator’s Coffee House blog which essentially says that Liberal Democrat MPs and campaigners are on a bit of a collision course over Part II of the Justice and Security Bill. Liberal Democrat conference voted overwhelmingly in favour of this measure being withdrawn because of its provisions on secret courts.

The article suggests that Liberal Democrat MPs are likely to support the measures now that Ken Clarke has accepted an

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 1 Comment
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    I don't propose to go over the tuition fees arguments again - this has been done to death. This proposal is to help prevent something...
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    @Joe Otten "We did the right thing on tuition fees"... "We can all but honour ours and face a massive trust issue." This sort of...
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    I'm afraid that this proposal appears to be a cure in search of a disease, looking to address a one-off incident by taking an axe...
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    JJ I suspect there were more UKIP voters who hated the Tories than Lib Dems who loved them... But the reality is you cannot predict...
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    David Evershed You do realise that if Matthew Huntbach sees that you'll be for it? It's like saying Betelgeuse three times. Just don't do it......
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    Richard Underhill - I think you'll find that in 1920 the Conservative Party was too Conservative to even consider such democratic madness as _electing_ its...
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