Saturday, March 16, 2019

Is Jo Swinson the Steel and Layla Moran the Pardoe?

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A few years ago I floated a theory about Liberal Party and Liberal Democrat leadership elections: the are all reruns of the 1976 contest between David Steel and John Pardoe:
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.
I even tried to apply this rule to Liberal history, with Asquith being the Steel and Lloyd George the Pardoe.

Andrew Hickey, in a tweet today, kindly suggested this distinction was a more enlightening way of analysing Lib Dem internal debates than the concepts of left and right.

He also said he wouldn't compare anyone to Steel at the moment, for obvious reasons, but I am not so discerning.

So what of the forthcoming Lib Dem leadership contest?

My feeling, looking at the expected front runners  is that Jo Swinson is the Steel and Layla Moran the Pardoe.

For what it is worth, I always vote for the Pardoe and the Steel usually wins.


Keith House said...

Spot on. Kennedy vs Hughes might not quite fit the line here but otherwise good. And yes to backing the Pardoe.

Frank Little said...

Surely revising ones recollection of a controversial decision is something which does unite Steel and Clegg?