Monday, January 09, 2006

We need a contested leadership election

But not for the reasons that the BBC reports Charles Kennedy as giving:

Charles Kennedy has said he hopes Liberal Democrat members get the chance to choose his successor as leader.

He said a contest was needed so members could have "direct input" after feeling "shut out" of his departure as leader.

My impression is that the members increasingly realise that Charles Kennedy had to go. In particular, Kennedy's belief that he could remain as leader having admitted his health problems and lost the confidence of the parliamentary party was a bizarre misjudgement.

We need a contested leadership election because it represents a unique opportunity for a party which often struggles for media coverage.

Those who want to see Ming Campbell crowned because they fear disunity are far too pessimistic. If having our leading MPs in the media talking about their beliefs and favoured policies is not good for the party, we may as well give up now.

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