Friday, January 13, 2006

Ming Campbell interviewed

This morning's Guardian has an appealing interview with the Merciless one:

He recalls how he won North East Fife, once the seat of the last Liberal prime minister, Herbert Asquith, in 1987 at the third attempt - his fifth parliamentary campaign - when he was 46.

"It took me 11 years to win my seat, three elections and 50,000 miles of driving. To those who might wonder if I am committed to things I would offer that. I would also say that you do not compete in top-class athletics without a hell of a lot of work, particularly if you had as little natural ability as I had. And the bar, hard work, commitment, perseverance."

Campbell's main message is that, if elected between now and early March, he will not waste time, as his old friend Paddy Ashdown did (with his support) when dealing with Tony Blair before 1997, on talk of hung parliaments ("I don't believe it") or of coalitions with Labour or the Tories. "The only project I would embark upon, were I to become leader, is maximisation of the vote and maximisation of the seats," he stresses. He condemns Tony Blair for moving too far to the right since becoming prime minister and accuses David Cameron of being "no liberal".

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