Sunday, February 19, 2006

An e-mail from David Steel

Yesterday it was Shirley Williams. Today it is David Steel.

Writing of Menzies Campbell, Steel says:
His bad luck was not to enter the Commons earlier than he did in 1987. Had he done so, he would probably have been leader instead of Charles Kennedy and possibly even Paddy Ashdown.
It's hard to resist the thought that it was all our bad luck that Ming did not enter the Commons in 1974. Then he might have been leader instead of David Steel


Anonymous said...

Is he seriously suggesting that only having been in the Commons 12 years in 1999 put Ming out of contention?

£50 quid says you don't get a pro-Ming email from Charles Kennedy tomorrow...

Alex Wilcock said...

Steel made me seethe, Will made me grin. Queele surprise.

Despite still being a floating voter - hoping for a knockout at the London hustings - and for having appealed for Mingers to try and persuade me, I've yet to receive one of these missives. Probably just as well, as Shirley's was disturbing and Steel's just plain maddening. I don't think there's any chance at all that Ming would have beaten Paddy, and Ming himself realised he could never beat Charles in an open contest. Steel presumably bears a grudge against two leaders who were a) more successful and b) remembered more fondly than he was, which is why his e-mail of 'support' amounts to dissing his successors. Has no-one told him this won't go down well?

So, if the only reason that Ming ran scared of even trying to challenge Charles in 1999 was because Charles had been in Parliament for 16 rather than 12 years - just 25% less experience in Westminster - and that given 'a level playing field' Ming would naturally have won, why is it that the bookies have an MP 96% short of Ming's Westminster experience odds-on to beat him? Sigh.

I return to my position that Ming is not an unappealing candidate on his own behalf but that every time one of his 'senior backers' opens their mouth I want to reach for my non-existent gun.

Alex Wilcock said...

A leading QC informs me that I should retract that last sentence in case I'm charged with glorifying terrorism.

Paul Linford said...

Complete drivelaulx from Steel. The reason Campbell did not get the leadership in 1999 - indeed, the reason why politically he was not in a position even to contest it - was because he allowed himself to become mixed up in Paddy's abortive project to merge with New Labour, while Kennedy successfully managed to distance himself from it. By the time Paddy stood down, the mood in the party had turned so decisively against Lib-Labbery that there was only going to be one winner. This episode provides further demonstration, as if it were needed, that Kennedy's political judgement was always superior to the man who has plotted so remorselessly to replace him.