Leadership Platform 5: Chris Huhne – Let’s make the Economy OUR Issue

The ballots have now gone out, and the choice is yours as to who will succeed Ming Campbell as Leader of our party.

It is clear from today’s article in the Guardian that the contest is wide open, with many members still deciding who to support.

I wanted to write to you today to make clear why I believe that I am the candidate who can best lead this party to future success.

First, vision. I am a Liberal Democrat because the values of this party are my personal values: liberty, fairness and equality.

I believe in empowering communities to work together so that every individual can make their own decisions, reach their potential and live their lives the way they want to.

That means I want to lead a party that’s prepared to set its face against the prevailing wind, challenge orthodoxies, and rediscover its anti-establishment edge.

I was proud to march with Charles Kennedy against the war in Iraq, and I was proud to support Vince Cable’s recent stand when he refused to attend a state banquet at Buckingham Palace, laid on for the Saudi government.

That’s the kind of brave and outspoken leadership that I would provide.

Second, policy. There is no point to our party, or purpose to our vision, if we cannot explain to voters how our beliefs would translate into action.

During this campaign I have spelled out, in detail, some of the policies that we should campaign on; ruling out a costly replacement for Trident; creating local accountability in our schools and hospitals so that we can ensure quality services with the equal access we all deserve; and – as you might expect from your Environment Spokesman – building on our leading role in the fight against climate change.

Third, experience. I have spent 25 years in this party. During that time I have knocked on thousands of doors, delivered thousands of leaflets, and met thousands of voters. I have learned the value of determination, hard work and perseverance.

I have worked first as a journalist, and then as an economist, building a successful business from scratch.

That professional background has given me experience of life and a clear understanding of the British economy.

Gordon Brown’s record as Chancellor is not strong, and Alistair Darling’s current performance is positively weak. Crises over pensions, Northern Rock, and now the loss of personal banking data have left the government exposed. This week public confidence in the government’s handling of national finance collapsed by 33 points to just 28%.

Clearly, economic competence will be a major factor in determining the outcome of the next election.

David Cameron has no background or understanding in economics: he knows that he can’t take on Gordon Brown on this issue.

But I have and I will – week in, week out, in the House of Commons – just as Vince Cable has over recent weeks.

We have an historic opportunity to make the economy our issue. We should seize it.

The next Leader of our party needs steadiness of nerve, clarity of thought, and hunger for victory on behalf of our party.

I believe that I have the experience to lead and the vision to succeed.

Thank you for reading this message.

Best wishes,

Chris Huhne


PS. If you are already helping on my campaign, thank you – the level of support has been overwhelming. If you would like to get involved – especially with phone canvassing or delivering leaflets to members locally – please email [email protected] as soon as possible.

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This entry was posted in Leadership Election.


  • Listening to some of the smart Tories they are more frightened of you than Nick Clegg.

  • Hmmm, maybe Clegg is indeed losing ground if his supporters are resorting to calling themselves “Tory Lady” and posting pro-Huhne comments to turns us off him!

    I’m not sure whether or not Clegg would be more effective against the Tories. In any event, I think we need someone who can consolidate our gains from Labour and eat further into their vote in liberal middle class and working class areas. It seems likely that Huhne is better equipped for this task.

  • At the start of the campaign, Clegg was well ahead. He had been hyped up by the media as this wonderful man, a messiah who will lead the party to greater electoral success. Huhne, on the other hand, was dismissed as dull and “grey”, a politician who only talks to activists and doesn’t “connect”.

    But then we had the members’ hustings, and the three TV head-to-heads. On each occasion, Huhne outperformed Clegg by a substantial margin, leaving members wondering why Paddy Ashdown had told them that Clegg is the only person capable of leading the party.

    That is why the Clegg challenge has faded.

    Members want clarity, not vagueness, specifics, not generalities; incisiveness – and occasional bloody-mindedness – not all-things-to-all-men niceness.

    When the history books come to be written, that – I suspect – is what will be said.

  • Cheltenham Robin 25th Nov '07 - 6:57pm

    3)…..Huhne, on the other hand, was dismissed as dull and “grey”, a politician who only talks to activists and doesn’t “connect”.

    They were right

  • Cheltenham Robin:

    Can you tell me what media spindoctors/manipulators mean when they use the verb “to connect”? Huhne has “connected” more with me because his message, shorn of obfuscation, is easier to understand.

  • “shorn of obfuscation”
    You are Chris Huhne and I claim my £5 😉

  • Cheltenham Robin 25th Nov '07 - 9:19pm

    5) I’ll assume you’re an activist.

    Let me tell you, he’ll bore the pants off the public.

  • Cheltenham Robin wrote:-

    “Let me tell you, he’ll bore the pants off the public.”

    Obviously, the members who attend hustings don’t think that, because they are turning to Chris in droves (see the Guardian poll).

  • Cheltenham Robin 26th Nov '07 - 4:31pm

    Public not members

  • 9 You and several other Clegg supporters seem to be saying that because Chris is doing well convincing members then by definition Clegg is better at convincing the public. The one doesn’t necessarily follow the other.

    Yet the only actual evidence we have of public reaction to each of them is that Huhne has increased support for the party on the environment while Clegg has lost us support on crime.

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