What I wrote at Lib Dem Voice

May 13, 2006

There we go again

Can I echo the thoughts of my fellow Lib Dem blogger (and, since last week, fellow Lib Dem councillor here in Oxford), Richard Huzzey, who has urged our MPs to give Ming Campbell a chance?

Though I don't set much store by the journalistic standards of the Torygraph, anonymous quotes attributed to Lib Dem MPs, such as those reported yesterday, are crassly moronic: "Ming will be gone within a year," "I just think he is not physically up to it."

I can only assume these people can't keep their mouths shut because they're too full of feet.

And while I'm on one, can someone please gaffer tape Simon Hughes' mouth shut until he's learned how not to fan the flames of a non-story? He must have known that saying "we need to judge [Ming] when it comes to conference after six months rather than after a few weeks," would provoke the inevitable headline in today's Indy, Hughes tells Campbell: 'You must do better by Lib-Dem conference'.

And Norman Lamb, Ming's chief-of-staff, may care to choose his words a little more carefully too... explaining away our leader's below-par performances at Prime Minister's Questions (which, by the way, are by no means the disasters they're portrayed by Labour/Tory politicians and media alike, but do require sharpening up some) on the grounds that his gravitas and sagacity have accustomed him over the years to being listened to in "reverantial silence" does not exactly help establish Sir Menzies as a caring, sharing, modest or engaged politician.

I know dealing with the meedja is tough, and that they are quite happy to twist, distort and lie in order to get their story - but, really, do we have to make it so easy for them?

Unless our MPs can learn how to comport themselves when speaking to the press in a way which can make us all proud, they could do worse than heed Clement Attlee's terse advice to Harold Laski: "A period of silence from you would be welcome."

2 comments:

Paul said...

I'm with you. Give the bloke a chance. As for "he's not physically up to it" that's ironic given our last leader's problems.

Tim Roll-Pickering said...

It seems the Lib Dems have fallen into the trap the Conservatives were in for years. Once you get into the habit of senior frontbenchers briefing against the leadership, of key individuals becoming "dial a quote"s for the media, of precise benchmarks for the leader's performance being set, of having to spin away election results going against your predictions and hopes and so forth, and when you depose one leader for not being able to "raise their game" you get stuck in a cycle.

Still since Campbell wasn't lilly white innocent in Kennedy's downfall he can't complain about all this.