New Statesman Talks Up Ming Assassins

The New Statesman this week carries an editorial by the Labour-supporting Mirror’s Rosa Prince, attacking Ming. Her analysis – tarring Ming with failure alongside David Cameron’s – is less remarkable than the gossip she offers on the higher eschelons of the party:

Many had hoped last month’s Ealing Southall by-election would provide the magic bullet [to justify dropping Ming]… One prominent Lib Dem MP, returning from campaigning in Ealing, arrived at an eve-of-poll summer party thrown by a leading party member exclaiming: “F*** – it looks like we might win this thing now.” He was consoled by several frontbenchers, at least two prospective MPs, several backbenchers and various Lib Dem peers.

Such stories should always be taken with a pinch of salt, but it would not be helpful if they were true. The quote in itself certainly suggests surprise more than the dismay read into it by Prince.

But the real question on campaigners’ lips will be: who holds a social event on an eve-of-poll? I hope they at least wrote some envelopes at the event.

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This entry was posted in Op-eds and Parliamentary by-elections.


  • I should think it would be relatively easy to dig into this further and determine whether this is just idle speculation:

    Does anyone recall a social event on the evening of Wed 18th July attended by at least 7 or 8 Lib Dem MPs, at least 2 PPCs and at least 2 peers?

    I can’t think of any substantial social event that night, aside from Liberal Drinks (which was in Ealing anyway and seldom gets that strong a turnout!).

    Extending the definition of “eve of poll” a little generously out to the weekend before, from memory there was the Sutton Garden party (max 3 MPs & 1 peer there – and one of the MPs would have been the chief whip), so that doesn’t qualify either.

    Any other ideas … or is this just another journalistic fabrication?

  • Rob Blackie 17th Aug '07 - 8:49am

    I’d remember that ‘prominent Lib Dem MP’ in this sort of article means ‘Lib Dem MP’. ie if you can find one person who’s unhappy (which you can with any leader) then they become ‘prominent’. Rather in the way that all select committees are ‘influential’.

  • The accusation of cowardice which is levied against us is not far from the truth. As a party, we are (in my eyes) woefully indecisive and at times even cowardly, especially in our attitude towards leaders who are past their sell-by date.

    Ming presents an oppurtunity for us to show the country that we are hungry for power and not the indecisive party our opponents make us out to be; getting rid of Ming could actually Benefit our image, especially if he is replaced by someone young, dynamic and charismatic.

    I’ve been carping on about Ming needing to go for the past year or so, but it seems that the parliamentary party does not contain anyone with the guts to lead a revolt. I, for one, would vote for whoever sticks the knife in; it would demostrate a damn sight more courage and guts than the rest of the parliamentary party is showing at the moment.

  • Is there some kind of law against holding a social event on an eve of poll that I was not previously aware of?

  • “…getting rid of Ming could actually Benefit our image, especially if he is replaced by someone young, dynamic and charismatic.”

    Brilliant idea. Why not get David Cameron in?

    This whizzkid obsession is a dangerous delusion which needs to fought and countered with argument, not pandered to. Look where it’s got us (as a country, I mean) with Blair.

    Ming is the same age as Churchill was when he became PM for the first time, and he’s a mere stripling when compared to near-namsake Campbell Bannerman, who was pushing 70 when he first went into number 10. He was also derided for being uncharismatic, funnily enough, and left office having laid the foundations of the welfare state. Not too bad for a racketty old puffin.

    There are several viable candidates for future Lib Dem leader on the current frontbench, but none are ready yet, and none have any public recognition outside the chattering political classes. This has been Ming’s main problem IMHO, and it is insane to be talking about ‘dropping the pilot’ when he’s showing some signs of overcoming it.

  • Richard Huzzey 17th Aug '07 - 1:20pm

    “Is there some kind of law against holding a social event on an eve of poll that I was not previously aware of?”

    Yes. Campaigns officers can hand down a maximum sentence of five weeks writing blue envelopes for a breach.

  • welshproudliberal 17th Aug '07 - 1:21pm

    I think that this is entirely fabricated. I would strongly imagine that the MPs had been told by eve of poll that we werent gonna win. That therefore makes it highly likely that this is just an imagined and bollocks story from a Labour supporting hack.

  • “That therefore makes it highly likely that this is just an imagined and bollocks story from a Labour supporting hack.”

    Well, yes. But the “New Statesman” wouldn’t have fabricated it unless it was believeable. And it is believeable because a succession of ill-informed, often blatantly ageist, malcontents has used this site to vent their spleen against Ming and his leadership.

    I am reminded of an old Basque proverb: Sasiak begiak eta hontzak belarriak – “the brambles have eyes and the owls have ears”.

    Oh, and don’t let’s start pointing fingers of suspicion at MPs. That is exactly what the author of this piece of nonsense wants – Lib Dems fighting each other instead of our opponents.

  • And I hope no Lib Dem MP uses the word “f***” at a garden party.

  • Brian Padder 18th Aug '07 - 11:53pm

    Unfortunately in this instance the story is accurate. There was a private party that night hosted by leading Lib Dem donor that was attended by several very high ranking faces of the future, including at least 8 MPs, several of whom hold that view in private, if not public.

  • If so, name names!

    ps “Brian Padder” is a poor try at a pseudonym. Surely you can come up with something funnier?

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