Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Ed Davey and Layla Moran: It's déjà vu all over again

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Calder's Sixth Law of Politics holds that all Lib Dem leadership elections are reruns of the Liberal Party leadership conetest between David Steel and John Pardoe in 1976

As I once blogged:
You could argue that the 1976 contest set a pattern for later Liberal and Liberal Democrat leadership elections.

One candidate (Steel) was orthodox, sensible and just a little dull. The other (Pardoe) was more charismatic, more open to new ideas and just a little unreliable in his judgement.

So in later contests Paddy Ashdown was a Pardoe and Alan Beith was a Steel. And Chris Huhne was a Pardoe and Ming Campbell and then Nick Clegg were Steels.
Not all contests have obeyed my law as clearly, but this time it is spot on. It's clear that Ed Davey is the Steel and Layla Moran is the Pardoe.

For me, Ed is being a bit too much of a Steel for his own good, but I shall not be declaring my support for either candidate until I have seen more of the campaign. I have urged the same course of action on other Lib Dem members.

In case you are curious, you can find all seven of my Laws of Politics in a recent post on this blog.


MartinRDB said...

I need to be convinced that Layla has enough charisma to be a Pardoe (let alone an Ashdown). The other issue is that I a not so sure that either are really that desperate for the job.

Laurence Cox said...

I would like to see how the law handles the 1999 leadership election: Charles Kennedy won from Simon Hughes, Malcolm Bruce, Jackie Ballard and David Rendel. By my reckoning that makes three Pardoes and Two Steels (Bruce and Rendel). I am not even sure that Ballard had enough charisma to be a Pardoe, while Kennedy's judgement was only unreliable when clouded by alcohol.

Jonathan Calder said...

That's the one the law doesn't work for, though last time round we had two Steels.

I think Charles Kennedy was more of a Steel than a Pardoe - there was nothing unusual in his views on policy. Malcolm Bruce used to complain to Liberator that we made him out to be more establishment than he really was.