Guardian asks, ‘Could Ming bounce?’

A rather bizarre headline distracts from a shrewd, but by no means comfortable, analysis of the Lib Dems’ prospects by Lewis Baston, co-editor of Politico’s Guide to the General Election 2005 and research officer at the Electoral Reform Society, on The Guardian’s CommentIsFree blog.

It’s worth reading in full here – but here’s the conclusion:

There are two strategies available [to the Lib Dems], to slog on and hope the climate improves, or to shake it up. More or less the only way the party has to shake things up is to dispose of another leader. Rumblings against Charles Kennedy were audible at the 2005 conference, and Ming Campbell is no doubt well aware that 2007 in Brighton is a big test for his own leadership. Whether getting rid of him would accomplish anything, or just divide and demoralise the party further, is debatable. The Lib Dems are in an unenviable position, and what makes it all the more horrid is that there may be absolutely nothing they can do about it.

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  • Liam Pennington 14th Sep '07 - 11:36am

    I think this Conference is vital for Ming – he is a stable, competent speaker but as a leader he has just not quite “got it”. The EU referendum interview has really ruffled feathers becuase it suggests he does not realise the great call from across the political spectrum for a vote on the issue.

    Ming can see us into the next election – but he must be stronger, more assertive, and above all respectful of the party’s independent voices.

  • Cheltenham Robin 14th Sep '07 - 12:16pm

    I have read the whole article and can not disagree with a word of it.

    The problem is, as the article rightly points out is what can we do about it?

    We have lots of good stuff on the agenda for next week, however, the media are only going to be looking to report one story and they are bound to find at least one delegate in the bar late at night who is willing to give them the quote they need.

    Probably Laurence Boyce

  • Barry Scott 14th Sep '07 - 2:29pm

    I’m surprised we haven’t already had a poll telling us what percentage of our supporters want Charles Kennedy back like they did last year.

  • Yasmin Zalzala 14th Sep '07 - 11:42pm

    It is the substance that matters. Who the leader is is an irrelevance.

    Both C Kennedy and M Campbell have lost the substance argument.

    The Lib Dems are doomed in my view

  • I’ll give them the quote they’re seeking now (and I’m not a drinker!) – Ming has been a disaster for the party.

    I have been a member for nearly 30 years and a councillor for 24 years and I have never been so disillusioned with the party leadership.

    So there!

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