Having decided last year that we were all obsessed with getting rid of Charles Kennedy, this year they have decided we are all obsessed with who was responsible for getting rid of Charles Kennedy.
The Times in particular is bigging-up the forthcoming biography of Mr Kennedy, written by Greg Hurst, a journalist with, err ... The Times. Apparently this book will:
tell how, along with Ed Davey, one of the party’s other “young Turks”, [Sarah] Teather, the MP for Brent East, led the charge against her boss last January, issuing him with a public ultimatum to resign, signed by a number of Liberal Democrat MPs.Thank goodness for this revelation! Otherwise we'd never have known - certainly not by reading this BBC News report of 6th January, 2006.
I have no doubt there will be a bit of leadership gossip doing the rounds at conference next month. Given the tumultuous events of the last nine months it would be odd if there weren't. But the vast majority of members will be focused for the vast majority of the time on policy - such as the proposals being recommended by the party's Tax Commission.
Time was political journalists would have aimed to report such issues, reflecting both the reality on the ground and their mature judgement of what matters. Such times are disappearing.
I can't help feeling that most journos have already written their copy for the Lib Dem conference, and will simply occupy their time 'fixing the facts' around the story.
PS: both Rob Fenwick and Jonathan Calder have already posted reasoned analyses of all this.