Getting Irate So That You Don't Have To

Getting Irate So That You Don't Have To

Monday, 15 October 2007

And Now It's Gone Completely Crackers

The Liberal Democrats have gone stark, raving mad. They've just got rid of Ming Campbell.

It appears that this is a reaction, at least in no small part to the LDs' poor opinion poll ratings which I believe - as I blogged here and here - to be wholly unreliable. As there isn't going to be a general election for at least 18 months there is no need for any party to panic about polls right now.

It is clear that Campbell has been "done in". At the weekend he was insistent that he was carrying on and he wasn't even on hand to announce his "resignation" himself; it befell Simon Hughes (a long-standing schemer in LD politics) and Vince Cable to do that.

Campbell has been leader for just 18 months. Political parties seem to be becoming like football clubs, sacking the man in charge after a few bad results. This is an incredibly short-termist reaction, manifested in a mail posted on Iain Dale's blog, supposedly written by a LD insider, which talks about Nick Clegg's position as favourite to replace Campbell. It says "After all, Clegg is seen by many as our version of Dave [Cameron]. When Cameron was tanking in the polls -during Gordon's honeymoon - there was little chance that Clegg would get elected - after all, good looking young men just weren't flavour of the month then. But now all has changed and so Clegg is on a high. However, this could change. If Gordon comes back strongly against Cameron the expect Clegg stock to fall."

According to which, the Liberal Democrats will simply elect whoever is "flavour of the month" (that month being December, when the leadership election will be held) with no consideration as to what might be in the long-term interests of the party.

Parties need to get a grip, in my view. It wasn't so long ago that people were talking about Cameron being replaced, and now he's seen as a high-flyer. At the same time Brown has experienced the opposite trajectory, and there are even rumblings of discontent about him. And now Campbell has copped it altogether.

And all because the polls have changed in the last month, and all for no real reason.

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