Friday, October 19, 2007

Thrills, spills, action, adventure and the Lib Dems

The Lib Dem leadership race, the hottest political event since early 2006, is now well under way. With candidates dropping in and out like sitcom characters in a coffee shop, the excitement is already preparing to consider the appropriate procedures for deciding when might be an apposite time to start mounting.

To help you keep track of this orangey maelstrom, here’s a guide to the Runners and Riders (© lazy hacks everywhere) and their pitches for power!

(Disclaimer: The position of Lib Dem leader may not necessarily involve any power.)

Chris Huhne
‘If you elect me leader I guarantee that I will not run naked through the streets of London.’

Nick Clegg
‘I’m not David Cameron. Really, I’m not, and I wouldn’t want to be. I promise. But if you squint…’

John Hemming
‘Nobody’s ever heard of me. Not even Chris Huhne and Nick Clegg. So I really need to impress with this, my first notable public statement. I know! I’ll pontificate about moral philosophy while overlooking the basic first-year undergraduate distinction between act-utilitarianism and rule-utilitarianism. You like that? No? Well, OK, I’ll pull out, then.’

Charles Kennedy
‘After my experience last time, I think it is highly unlikely that I will be hosting Have I Got News For You again. But in showbiz, you should never say never.’


Cassilis said...

That's a cruel (if accurate) disclaimer Tom.

p.s. issued a challenge of sorts to you over at my place...

Anonymous said...

I'd just like to say that the withdrawal of John Hemming is a great loss to students of self-importance, delusion and pomposity everywhere, and will be widely mourned also by the next generation of comedians. Say what you like about Mr Hemming, he can't be said to be a lookalike for David "Is the Camera on?". Or indeed, for anyone else (although his devoted wife did once claim online somewhere that when she met him he looked like Paul McCartney, ahem). Prsonally, I thought his "position statement" references to neodontology was a subtle reference to new plans to improve the dental service. But then, I failed Latin at school.

Tom Freeman said...

The withdrawal of David Hemming is indeed a great loss, but my reasoning is different.

If he'd become leader, he could have said: "The old Labour and Tory ways of governing clearly failed. So, too, did the new Labour 'third way' - and the new Tory way is a poor pastiche of old ideas and shallow PR. What this country needs is... the Hemming way!"

If he said it sincerely enough, it could even be "the earnest Hemming way!"

Matt M said...

Is there some sort of pattern emerging here? From '97 onwards the Tories were unable to find a leader who remained in the position for more than five minutes. They finally settle on the relatively successful Cameron and now the Lib Dems are apparently at it. If you ask me we're in for a decade of Lib Dem leadership contests, at which point the Tories might finally win an election and so allow Labour to have their turn.

How's that for political analysis?

Tom Freeman said...

Pretty astute, I'd say, matt - especially considering the Friday afternoon factor!

It took a long time for the Tories to figure out how to deal with Blair. During that time most disillusioned Labour voters went to the Lib Dems. Now Cameron has been hoovering up some of their support, they've had real trouble working out how to play it (not helped by the post-Blair Labour party fianlly shaking off some of the Iraq anger).

Say the Lib Dems go for Clegg. Eventually, Labour will be turfed out of office, and when that happens the other two parties will be more aligned with each other in the way Labour and the Lib Dems were in the mid/late 1990s.

I suspect that on finding itself in opposition (whenever that happens), post-Brown Labour may have a tough time figure out which way to go. Parties that lose power after a long time tend to have this problem.

Just an idle thought.