Monday, October 15, 2007

The End of a (very short) Era

This evening Ming Campbell resigned as party leader. He's suffered an awful lot of ageism over the two years of his leadership, particularly from some elements of the media but also it's true from some elements of this party. During our conference last month I had the interesting experience of being in the hall while Ming answered questions from delegates and supplementaries from Sandi Toksvig and then of being in the radio studio while the political editor of one of the tabloid press was interviewed on what his paper would be saying the following day. I did not recognise the conference he had attended! I saw a leader who could answer the set questions as well as one would expect, but who also answered the supplementaries with clarity and confidence, as well as relaxing into a little light-hearted repartee with Ms Toksvig. I then heard it said that the day had been a disaster for Ming Campbell who'd admitted to being a failure! I think it was at that point that I realised just how little chance he stood against the tabloid pack, and how soon we were likely to have a new leader.
As a party we didn't cover our collective self with glory in the course of the last leadership election and I hope sincerely that this one will be a better reflection of the quality of our party.

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