Ming the Mithered or The Temptation of Young Turks
Reflections on the Lib Dem leadership are tough for me, in large part because I struggle to develop firm views about them.
In my head, as a Conservative, I most feared Huhne. He, I am loathe to admit, did have a certain credibility on economics and seemed to have his head switched on if not to the substance then certainly to the rhetorical appeal of economic liberalism. He also seemed to have the poise to potentially break free of the sandal wearers freaky social pecadilloes on policy. He, with some notable assistance I think it's fair to say, ran a slick campaign that brought him from nowhere to near the heart of the party.
Hughes would have been manna. He would have consolidated Lib Dem support, but I had no concern he would or could reach beyond this.
In my heart I most worried about Campbell. Not for who he was, or what he could do, but because he offered a very real prospect, if elected, of delivering Nick Clegg - a much more formidable option - to the leadership in the not too distant future.
Nonetheless, in the short-term he would offer ideal territory for the Tories to make gains. He has too much of the Paddy Ashdown about him to offer more than a fringe role for the Lib Dems. Having seen his acceptance speech, as he seemed to stumble or mumble through parts, he hardly cut a dynamic and invigorating figure. I know think he may hurt the Lib Dems enough for a Clegg leadership after the next election to be of little import to the wider political scene. What's more, what I've seen of Clegg during the last few months has made me far less concerned he would present a credible threat to the Conservative Party.
Allied to this, Huhne's audacious bid for the job has risked a split amongst the so-called "Orange Bookers", enough to offer promise that their effectiveness as a force within and without the Lib Dems may be lessened. I can't see Clegg and Huhne going on holiday together.
Looking at the situation now, seeing how old and "of another time" Ming came across today, and the cack-handed planning of the declaration from a media standpoint I don't think there's much at all to be sad about around the result. Let's just see how long the young turks can stomach Ming the Mithered.
Cack-handed media planning; just what is this?
And finally, despite having a manic day yesterday I was delighted to be able to break Trust People's third ever scoop, in being the first to lead with the story of Ming's victory. Having sent the readership figures through the roof I hope to have more to excite you with in the coming weeks.