Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Why Nick Clegg should stand

Mr Cameron's best slogan in the Tory leadership contest was: "Why put off what needs to be done?" Mr Clegg is, by some margin, the Lib Dem who would give the Tories and Labour the most trouble in 2009. He should be his party's next leader. So why put it off?
So writes Matthew d'Ancona in this morning's Daily Telegraph.

I don't see the Liberal Democrats as being in such a deep crisis as he does, and he is kinder than I am about Mark Oaten, but I think he right about Nick Clegg.

The rumour tonight is that Chris Huhne is seeking support to stand. He would make an appealing candidate too.


Peter Pigeon said...

I wonder if there is enough support for both Oaten and Huhne to enter the contest. (Who are the Oaten secret seven?)

A significant part of the appeal of Campbell that he will offer the chance to vote for Clegg in 3-4 years time.

Anonymous said...

So the question to ask of Ming is how long he intends to lead for. I wouldn't want another assissination to be necessary.

Iain Sharpe said...

I would also be kinder about Mark Oaten than you are – I am still working on my magnum opus defending Mark from criticism by liberal bloggers and liberator.

But whatever the question is, Nick Clegg is certainly the answer. Part of my decision to support Ming is in the belief that he will make way for Nick after the next election.

I don't normally go in for hero worship of politicians, but Nick is the genuine article - a liberal by instinct and intellect, bright and articulate. He was also admired by my political mentor, Bob Pritchard (former Leicester councillor).

If Nick stood (and he has ruled himself out) I would support him too!

Anonymous said...

If politics is a greasy pole, as Charles Kennedy has sadly discovered, then his obvious successor, Simon Hughes, now needs to seize that pole with a very firm grip.

Hughes is respected in all quarters as decent, compassionate, urbane, witty, intelligent, principled and also vastly experienced.

More to the point, for the future of the Lib Dems, he is hugely popular with the public.

For all his personal qualities, that easy affection which people from all walks of life offer him is the most significant reason why he is the right man to lead them into a share of Government later this year.

After half a generation of a "New Labour" experiment that has ended up looking as clueless and lacklustre as the dying and dreary Conservative administration it replaced, Britain is long overdue the freshness and vitality that has always characterised the bulk of the Liberal Democrat policy canon.

That's why the Lib Dem membership owe it to the country to choose the man whose electability offers them the best chance of a serious role in Government that has beckoned many times but hitherto remained tantalising just out of reach.

In short: cometh the hour, cometh Mr Hughes.

cymrumark said...

Huhne is a capable guy and might have a chance of winning. The problem would come after he wins.

He was the favourite MEP of the no to the Euro campaign and they had a series of, in hindsight, very stupid comments By Huhne about how great ERM was, set alonside statistics for business closures, unemployment etc. The Tories would do the same with great glee after Huhne gets elected.

Richard H said...

Regardless, I think Chris has the talent to win for us on key domestic economic issues, as well as being a candidate who'll push the environment onto the agenda of the leadership context.

I've finally found the candidate I can be completely confident to back. Nick Clegg is excellent, but I'd see the same values served by a first choice for Huhne than simply relying on waiting for Clegg to take over if Menzies wins. And if Huhne doesn't win, the more first preferences he gets will sow the ground for the attractive option both Clegg and Huhne represent.

So, Cleggistas: back Huhne!

And to yolly: Cometh the hour, cometh the Huhne! :-)

James Graham (Quaequam Blog!) said...

I have a horrible feeling that Clegg is now screwed due to the intolerable weight of expectation that is now on top of him. Think Portillo, Davis and, quite possibly, Brown. There is a real danger in British politics of allowing your stock to peak too early.

Anonymous said...

This may have been a better time for him to stand than has been assumed. Everyone considered that the single greatest obstacle to him standing now was that he only has several months at Westminster. However, the media doesn't seem to give a toss about it.

It's possible to see the eulogies from d'Ancona etc. as a ploy to make us play a good card too early. However, there does seem to be a lot of genuine puzzlement out there as to why he's ruled himself out.

That said, I think there's much, much more to a Ming leadership than caretaking, and I think we're in for a good time if he wins.